India has been engaged with foreign governments to ensure the welfare of prospective migrants, and is currently focussed on mitigating the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indian talent abroad, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.
Addressing the third edition of the Annual Conference of Protectors of Emigrants via video-conferencing, he said the protectors of emigrants must also rise to the challenge of reviving the post-COVID economy and engage with the post-COVID world.
"Our government has accorded the highest priority to promoting the interests of Indian emigrants for the last six years," Jaishankar said.
The government's focus has been to provide better opportunities and welfare measures to prospective migrants, he added.
The government, therefore, has been engaged with its foreign counterparts to provide ease of travel and opportunities through migration and mobility agreements, Jaishankar said.
"We are currently focussed on ensuring that the negative economic consequences of the pandemic on our talent and skills abroad is mitigated. That is influenced not only by the quality of our various bilateral relationships but the overall helpful approach that we have displayed with regard to the health and economic requirements of our partners," he said.
"It is imperative that we recover our market share as quickly as possible. The coming months will see dedicated efforts in that direction. The contribution that the protectors of emigrants (POEs) can make to facilitate this national objective is significant," Jaishankar said.
He also noted that many of the Indian workers, who after long years of service abroad returned with advanced skills and abilities, would contribute to the country's development.
"In fact, we are engaged in such data capture and mapping as an accompanying element of the Vande Bharat mission that is currently underway. MEA has facilitated data flows to National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to develop 'Swadesh', a database for skilled workers. Together with E-migrate, these can become basic tools for skill job matching for migrant workers," Jaishankar said.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan also addressed the conference.