Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kerala gets new Congress-backed diaspora outfit

The Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC), an organisation bringing non-resident Keralites (NRKs) in various countries under one umbrella, came into being Saturday with support from the Congress\' Kerala unit.

Addressing reporters here, Congress state unit chief Ramesh Chennithala said the OICC, comprising various organisations based outside the country, has been formed and its constitution has been approved.

\'The two day meeting that concluded here today (Saturday) was attended by 250 representatives from various Middle Eastern countries and Europe, as also the US and Britain. Now these representatives will go back to these countries and form proper units of the OICC. The district committee would be the primary unit,\' he said.

Chennithala said representatives of the new grouping will soon go to Delhi and meet the prime minister and other ministers to raise the problems of the NRKs.

\'We will raise the issues like the problems faced by them with regards to Air India. Inordinate delays by the national carrier are a problem that has not been resolved for long. We will also demand posting of more Malayalam speaking officials in the Indian embassies in the Middle East countries,\' he said.

OICC came about after Chennithala made several trips to various Middle East countries to unite the various cultural groups that are at present working in those countries.

\'It has also been decided to hold a global summit of the OICC in Qatar in May. An organising committee under the leadership of (Qatar-based businessman) C.K. Menon has been formed,\' Chennithala said.

Currently, there are more than two million NRKs, of whom the majority is in the Middle East. Over the years, their remittances, which have crossed Rs.25,000 crore, now comprise about 20 per cent of the state\'s net domestic product and are 30 percent more than the state\'s annual receipts.

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