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10 Indian workers die in Gulf nations per day, for each $1 billion remitted 117 deaths occur

By Our Representative
A recent Right to Information (RTI) intervention and research of proceedings in Parliament has revealed that between 2012 and mid-2018 more than 24,570 Indian workers died in in six Gulf countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This works out to an average of more than 10 deaths per day.
A further analysis by Venkatesh Nayak, well-known RTI activist, who made the plea to the Ministry of Exernal Affairs (MEA), suggests that for every US$ 1 billion they remitted to India during the period there were at least 117 deaths of Indian workers in Gulf countries.
According to data tabled in Parliament in April 2018, there are 87.76 lakh (8.77 million) Indians in these Gulf countries. In a reply to an Unstarred Question (#6091) raised in the Lok Sabha, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs said, during the first half of this financial year alone (between April-September 2018), blue-collared Indian workers in these countries had remitted US$ 33.47 billion back home.
The figures are based on replies Nayak, who is with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), received from the Indian embassies situated in the six Gulf countries, to whom the MEA transferred his RTI pleas.
While the Embassy of Kuwait replied that most of the details regarding deaths of Indian workers in that country was available online on its official website, which contains month-wise deaths since 2014 only, UAE refused to provide even this data citing Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, which exempts the disclosure of personal information which may cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual or where the disclosure has no relationship to any public activity or interest.
In order to fill up the gaps in the data (between 2012-13 which the Indian Embassy in Kuwait did not display) and the data which UAE refused to disclose, Nayak's analysis of data on the websites of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha indicated that the number of deaths, 24,570, in the six Gulf countries between 2012 and mid-2018, could in fact increase if the complete figures for Kuwait and UAE are made available publicly.
“The data also revealed At 10,416, most number of deaths occurred in Saudi Arabia during this period while Bahrain accounted for the least number, i.e., 1,317 deaths”, he says, adding, “The most number of deaths occurred in 2015, 4,702, whereas the smallest number was reported in 2012, 2,375. By July-August 2018, already 1,656 deaths had occurred.”
Nayak continues, “Only the Indian Embassy in Qatar provided some information about the cause of deaths. While more than 80% of the deaths have been attributed to natural causes, almost 14% of the deaths occurred in accidents. Almost 6% of these deaths were due to suicides.”
A further analysis by Nayak, based on the World Bank’s annual Migration Reports, and the Reserve Bank of India, which publishes weekly remittance data, suggested that “Indians working in Gulf countries accounted for more than half of the remittance that India received from all over the world during 2012-17.”
Says Nayak, “While Indian received a total of US$ 410.33 billion in remittances from the world over, remittances from the Gulf countries accounted for US$ 209.07 billion”, with UAE topping “the list of Gulf countries from which remittances were received at US$ 72.30 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia (US$ 62.60 billion); Kuwait (US$ 25.77 Billion); Qatar (US$ 22.57 billion); Oman (US$ 18.63 billion) and Bahrain came last with US$ 7.19 billion.”
“When compared with the dataset regarding deaths of Indian workers obtained through RTI and parliamentary records, there were more than 187 deaths for every US$ billion received from Oman during 2012-17; more than 183 deaths for every US$ billion received from Bahrain and 162 deaths for every US$ billion received from Saudi Arabia”, says Nayak.
He adds, “Qatar accounted for more than 74 deaths for every US$ billion received while the lowest figure of 71 deaths for every US$ Billion received was from UAE.”
Comments Nayak, “It appears that blue collared workers are contributing more to India’s forex kitty than the white-collared workers in the developed countries”, though “as a proportion of the total forex reserves at the end of the calendar year the share of the remittances seems to be declining in recent years.”
Thus, in 2012 remittances from Gulf countries were equal to 12.57% of the forex reserves (excluding gold and Special Drawing Rights), in 2017 the remittances were only 9.97% of the year-end forex reserves declared by RBI, Nayak adds.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Statistics usually go over my head but, in this case, they are a sad reflection on our country that our people have to go and work in pathetic conditions to make a decent life for themselves and their families. What is the EAM of successive governments doing about it? NOTHING

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