Ministry of External Affairs : Important Updates

Nov, 22, 2018

E-registration must for jobs in 18 countries


Mains Paper 2: IR | Indian Diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ECR norms

Mains level: Welfare of Indians going abroad


Compulsory registration for non-ECR category

  1. Passport holders with non-Emigration Check Required (non-ECR) status will soon have to get themselves registered with the Ministry of External Affairs before taking up jobs abroad.
  2. The rule, which takes effect on January 1, is said to be aimed at the welfare of Indians going abroad.
  3. It applies to jobs in 18 countries, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations, which have the largest number of expats.

Category of passengers

  1. The non-ECR category of passengers includes Indians paying income tax and those with educational qualification above matriculation.
  2. As of now only ECR category passport holders were required to get emigration clearance from the office of the Protector of Emigrants to seek employment abroad.
  3. All those seeking employment will have to register online via the website
  4. Those failing to register at least 24 hours prior to actual departure will be off-loaded at the airports.
  5. For all other visa categories, there is no change in existing procedures.

Why such move?

  1. The objective of the directive is to protect workers with higher educational qualification from not getting into blue collar jobs.
  2. Previously only ECR stamped passport holders had to go through the mandatory e-migrate registration since 2015.
  3. However, not all blue collar workers are in the ECR category as it was evident in the number of people taking up employment in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman and Qatar.

What data say?

  1. Statistics available with the MEA showed that UAE is one of the five top destination countries for Indians taking up employment.
  2. Nearly 1.5 lakh Indians had taken up employment in that country last year.
  3. This was followed by Saudi Arabia (78,611); Kuwait (56,380); Oman (43,332) and Qatar (24,759).
  4. Incidentally Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the top labour-sending State with 88,450 Indian emigrants registering with the e-migrate system.
  5. This was followed by Bihar (69,426); Tamil Nadu (38,341); West Bengal (36,599) and Rajasthan (32,184).
  6. The other countries where registration is required are Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand and Yemen.
Oct, 11, 2018

MEA launches 'India for Humanity' initiative


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Ministries & Departments of the Government

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India For Humanity Initiative

Mains level: India’s welfare measures for the Divyangjans across the globe.



  • External Affairs Minister Mrs. Swaraj has launched ‘India for Humanity’ initiative to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

‘India for Humanity’ Initiative

  1. The initiative will feature a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a various countries across the globe.
  2. For this MEA is collaborating with the renowned charitable organisation — “Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti” (BMVSS).
  3. These camps will be initially held in 12 countries identified through our missions with financial support of the central government.
  4. The larger aim is to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled.
May, 01, 2018

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Varanasi


Mains Paper 2: IR | Indian Diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Mains level: Initaitives taken by the government to connect to Indian dispora


15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2019

  1. The 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in the holy city of Varanasi on January 21 to 23, 2019 with the
    Indian diaspora having an option to participate in Kumbha Snan and attend the Republic Day parade in
    New Delhi
  2. The event would be inaugurated by PM Modi and his Mauritian counterpart
  3. It will be organized by the Ministry of External Affairs in association with the Uttar Pradesh government
  4. The theme of the 15th PBD is “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India”


Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  1. It is a celebratory day observed on 9 January, biennially (after 2015) to mark the contribution of the
    overseas Indian community towards the development of India
  2. The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on 9 January 1915
  3. It is sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce
    and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Ministry of DoNER
  4. A celebratory event is held on 7–9 January in an Indian city: a forum for issues concerning the Indian
    Diaspora is organized and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are given
  5. The latest 14th PBD was held in Bengaluru, Karnataka in January 2017
  6. MEA also organizes Regional PBD periodically outside India to connect with the Indian Diaspora in specific regions, familiarize them with the policies and programmes of the Government and enable them to contribute to India’s development and growth, and address their concerns
Oct, 03, 2016

Minority Affairs Ministry takes charge of Haj pilgrimage

  1. Context: President’s assent to amendments to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961
  2. Haj management: Transfer of management of Haj Pilgrimage, including administration of the Haj Committee Act, 1959, to the Minorities Affairs Ministry
  3. Earlier: The Ministry of External Affairs has dealt with the Haj pilgrimage and other aspects of the Act so far
  4. However, MEA would still continue to oversee other pilgrimages to places outside India under the Indian Pilgrimships Rules, 1933, and pilgrim parties from India to shrines in Pakistan and vice versa
Sep, 10, 2016

India makes list, plans outreach to 68 countries

  1. Context: Govt’s commitment to reach out to all countries worldwide
  2. Ministry of External Affairs has issued letters to various Ministers assigning them dozens of specific countries to engage with
  3. It has identified 68 countries which had not witnessed Ministerial-level visits from India
  4. Govt: By 2016-end, we will not leave any country where Indian Ministers have not gone
Mar, 25, 2016

India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement

  1. News: Cabinet has given its approval for India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement
  2. About: International transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf
  3. Why? India’s intention to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement would now be conveyed to the Depository State (Turkmenistan)
  4. India would become party to the Agreement upon consent of the founding members
  5. Benefits: Accession to Agreement would enable India to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade interaction with Eurasian region
  6. This would synchronise with efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity
Feb, 23, 2016

MEA protests after being asked to curb foreign travel

  1. News: Memorandum issued Finance Ministry, stipulating new instructions for foreign travel
  2. This has spurred a protest “go-slow” from the MEA on all political clearances for officers travelling abroad
  3. Context: Finance Ministry officials say the memorandum is part of a bi-annual cost-cutting exercise to restrict foreign travel as much as possible
  4. Concern from MEA: First time, PM’s clearance needed for more than 4 visits by Secretaries in 1 yr, which will add to the red tape and cause delays
  5. Non-officials can only travel with PM’s clearance, not at MEA’s discretion
Jan, 11, 2016

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and important announcements

  1. Giving Adhaar cards to NRIs and OCIs is under consideration.
  2. Women workers will be allowed to go to Gulf countries for employment only through government agencies.
  3. This is to ensure they are not duped by recruiting agents.
  4. PBD is held on 9th January as on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the “greatest Pravasi”, returned home from South Africa to lead India’s freedom struggle.
Jan, 08, 2016

Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry, MEA merged

In order to avoid duplication of work and to improve efficiency, the government merged the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with the Ministry of External Affairs.

  1. As senior diplomats wanted officials dealing with foreign workers-related issues and emergencies to have better diplomatic back-up and coordination.
  2. The merger is expected to increase efficiency in MEA’s emergency work abroad.
  3. MEA wanted the key operational posts, including that of the Protector General of Emigrants, one of the most important offices in MOIA, to have diplomatic focus.
  4. The post is responsible for issuing registration certificates to recruitment agents who send workers abroad, especially to the Gulf region.
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