Will take up ministries’ merger issue with Centre: Kerala CM

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 8 (IANS) Kerala will take up with the Centre the merger of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) with the ministry of external affairs, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Friday.

The decision to do away with the MOIA was not correct, the chief minister told reporters in Delhi.

“We will take up the issue with the prime minister and others concerned since the ministry is crucial for Kerala as thousands of its residents are working abroad,” Chandy said.

Former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the merger would “seriously affect” Keralites living abroad.

“It is an insult to the diaspora (from Kerala). Moreover, the state government’s Norka department (agency that looks after the welfare of the Kerala diaspora) will face a tough time after the merger of the two ministries. This (decision) should be reconsidered,” Achuthanandan said in a statement here.

As many as 90 percent of Kerala’s 23.63 lakh people living abroad are in Middle-East countries, with United Arab Emirates accounting for 38.7 percent of these, followed by Saudi Arabia with 25.2 percent.

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