Centre to appoint minister to handle diaspora issues: Shashi Tharoor

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 13 (IANS) A union minister of state with independent charge and a full time secretary would be immediately appointed to look into all issues of the diaspora, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

In a press statement issued here on Saturday, Tharoor, the chairman of the External Affairs Committee of parliament and Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram, said the new development took place at a meeting in Delhi.

“Kerala had raised strong objections when it was decided by the Narendra Modi government to merge the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (OIA) with that of the ministry of external affairs (MEA),” Tharoor said.

Sushma Swaraj has assured that very soon, a minister of state with independent charge and a full time secretary would be appointed to look into all issues of the Indian diaspora, especially in the Middle East, he said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had taken up the merger issue last month with Modi and Sushma Swaraj.

The first Congress-led UPA government under then prime minister Manmohan Singh had formed the overseas Indian affairs ministry headed by Kerala leader Vayalar Ravi.

A recent study on the Kerala diaspora said 90 percent of Kerala’s 23.63 lakh diaspora were in various Middle East countries, of which the UAE accounted for 38.7 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia with 25.2 percent.

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