Orange passport for India’s migrant workers ‘institutionalizes discrimination’

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Orange passport for India’s migrant workers ‘institutionalizes discrimination’
by SANJAY KUMAR
Thursday 18 January 2018
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NEW DELHI: Indian government’s recent decision to issue orange passports to people who require emigration checks has been widely criticized by concerned citizens who have described the new rules as discriminatory.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that those who need emigration clearance for travel to a group of 18 countries, mostly in the Gulf region, would be issued with orange passports and those who do not would receive blue ones.

People who have graduated high school, or are among the 2 percent of Indians who pay income tax, do not require emigration checks. But the vast majority of unskilled workers do.

“You are making a mockery of the people who are illiterate and come from the marginalized section of society,” said Professor Irudaya Rajan S. of Kerala’s Center for Development Studies (CDS). “It is an institutionalization of discrimination on the basis of education.”

According to Pew Research Center, 1 in 20 migrant workers worldwide are Indian-born. As of 2015, 15.6 million people born in India were living in other countries. India has been among the world’s top countries of origin for migrants since the UN started tracking those figures in 1990. A World Bank estimate says that India received about $69 billion in remittances in 2015 amounting to roughly three percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Data provided by the Indian Embassy in Doha reveals that between 2004 and 2017, around 3,154 Indian workers died in Qatar, with more than 200 workers dying each year from 2007 onwards.

“How will changing the color of the passport stop exploitation?” asked Rajan. “It’s not the right move. In the name of protection, you are exposing people to risk both inside and outside India. (This) is not going to help stop human trafficking and exploitation.”

Government sources say the scheme is supposed to prevent the exploitation of Indian workers abroad, although there has been no clear explanation as to how.

The government has claimed that the new passport scheme will make it easier for immigration officers to identify workers who require vetting before being allowed to travel to various countries. As the Washington Post reported, “The theory is this would also make human trafficking more difficult as border officials would immediately know which people need the extra permission to travel.”

But Rajan said, “It is sheer discrimination on the basis of the socio-economic status of the workers. The government argues that it wants to protect Indians who are vulnerable through this decision. The orange passport will make them much more vulnerable, as they are more easily identifiable.”

Pranay Kotasthane, a geopolitical analyst at the Bangalore-based think tank The Takshashila Institution, questioned the need for emigration clearance in the first place, and added that the “priority of the government should be to prevent exploitation of women and Indian workers abroad. There is no way the change in the color of the passport is going to do that.”

He told Arab News that “by changing the color of the passport, you are just systematizing more discrimination – one Indian gets one color of passport and another gets the other one. It’s not solving the problem. In fact this should be used as an opportunity by India to completely get rid of the emigration system that we have used since 1983.”

Rakesh Sinha, a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the paternal organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), defends the government’s decision, saying that “the move will act as a deterrent against human trafficking.”

However, leader of the opposition, Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi, said the move was “completely unacceptable” and that the government is “treating India’s migrant workers like second-class citizens.”

“This action demonstrates BJP’s discriminatory mind-set,” Gandhi added.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1228186/world
 

Joe Shearer

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That beats Trump's immigration policy.

@Joe Shearer @Nilgiri Any comments regarding the above?
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an egregious violation of individual privacy; the ECR stamp cannot be mistaken. On the other hand, some of our men and women have suffered so bitterly that I can't help wondering if it's worth it. If even one Indian overseas worker is kept out of a bad situation, it will have been a worthwhile step.

Very mixed.
 

jbgt90

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I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an egregious violation of individual privacy; the ECR stamp cannot be mistaken. On the other hand, some of our men and women have suffered so bitterly that I can't help wondering if it's worth it. If even one Indian overseas worker is kept out of a bad situation, it will have been a worthwhile step.

Very mixed.
Knowing that the MEA is one of the very few institutions which work in this country i would say this is a bad move. imagine you had to stand in line at immigration in a sea of people and you hold an orange passport and others a blue one ? its embarrassing as it marks you as a non graduate . there are other places it will occur too . I dont believe this is a good policy . Just look at the trouble the homeless in UP are facing ,those who dont have an aadhar do not get shelter in night shelters . this is getting out of hand Joe !!!!
We are forgetting that the govt exists to take care of people of all walks of life , not just the rich and middle class.
 

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I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an egregious violation of individual privacy; the ECR stamp cannot be mistaken. On the other hand, some of our men and women have suffered so bitterly that I can't help wondering if it's worth it. If even one Indian overseas worker is kept out of a bad situation, it will have been a worthwhile step.

Very mixed.
While I understand your fears I do object to the step taken. It is going to create a division within the society itself. There must be other options to go about instead of the proposed one.
 

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I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an egregious violation of individual privacy; the ECR stamp cannot be mistaken. On the other hand, some of our men and women have suffered so bitterly that I can't help wondering if it's worth it. If even one Indian overseas worker is kept out of a bad situation, it will have been a worthwhile step.

Very mixed.
An orange passport for now. What is next, a red light on their heads?
 

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That beats Trump's immigration policy.

@Joe Shearer @Nilgiri Any comments regarding the above?
I don't get the need to make a different colour/type of passport. Keep it one passport, improve the system from within for security/citizen protection etc as needed....continue to negotiate bilaterally with major destination countries to improve how things are done.

I already find diplomatic/official passport weird and unnecessary with the level of databases in place today.

But then again I am not someone who knows the in and outs of the immigration/customs process (from standpoint of the authorities) between say India and the Gulf countries.

And of course it beats Trump's immigration policy, Trump is simply after a merit based immigration system. Nothing really to do with intervening in US passport procedures (i.e from US citizen end).
 

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I don't get the need to make a different colour/type of passport. Keep it one passport, improve the system from within for security/citizen protection etc as needed....continue to negotiate bilaterally with major destination countries to improve how things are done.

I already find diplomatic/official passport weird and unnecessary with the level of databases in place today.

But then again I am not someone who knows the in and outs of the immigration/customs process (from standpoint of the authorities) between say India and the Gulf countries.

And of course it beats Trump's immigration policy, Trump is simply after a merit based immigration system. Nothing really to do with intervening in US passport procedures (i.e from US citizen end).
I was referring to Trump's anti Muslim policy and the ban imposed on several African, ME countries even those who holds a valid US visas and permits.
 

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I was referring to Trump's anti Muslim policy and the ban imposed on several African, ME countries even those who holds a valid US visas and permits.
Well that again concerns non-US citizens, not US citizens (local born or naturalized) with passports (which would be the equivalent here to Indian citizens applying for passports and/or ECRs). It would be like Trump (making an EO or similar action) "targetting" US citizens with proclivity to visit/immigrate/work to/in certain countries need a different US passport colour/type from the standard one.

The travel ban is not an anti-Muslim policy either since nowhere near the majority of Muslim countries were covered (or even considered), and neither is North Korea (in the travel ban) a muslim country. The list were countries US intelligence (under the Obama admin) highlighted as compromised in their security and vetting process from a US standpoint with regards to foreign travel...Trump simply operationalised that earlier finding.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/national/permanent-travel-ban/

Hence why the Supreme Court upheld the most recent iteration of it given the US executive statute on it is crystal clear.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/supreme-court-travel-ban/index.html

Neither are Visas and Permits an absolute document for access to the US, they have always been allowed to be cancelled (for any reason, given a non-citizen has no automatic right to US court system)....heck Jimmy Carter did just that for all Iranian nationals (again his decision and discretion as the Executive), no one called that an anti-muslim ban...but of course he did not campaign on that particular subject either.

Now was it (Trump Travel Ban) mostly done for optical reasons (just like the stuff he said during the campaign)? Definitely, after all improvement of the screening process can just be ramped up internally (like it has been done with some countries that have since been dropped from the travel ban list like Sudan and Iraq)....but that is nothing new in politics. It was done to give a "win" to his base, upset the opposition, and give something to think about for the neutrals on where they stand....all fits in with the polarisation strategy (started by the democrats funnily enough) of Trump.

If it was a true anti-muslim ban/policy, a) it wouldn't be done on a country basis in the first place (plenty of muslims and non muslims are found in some combination in every country) and b) if it was done on a country basis, it would have to do something like target every muslim majority country. Neither of these happened.
 

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Well that again concerns non-US citizens, not US citizens (local born or naturalized) with passports (which would be the equivalent here to Indian citizens applying for passports and/or ECRs). It would be like Trump (making an EO or similar action) "targetting" US citizens with proclivity to visit/immigrate/work to/in certain countries need a different US passport colour/type from the standard one.

The travel ban is not an anti-Muslim policy either since nowhere near the majority of Muslim countries were covered (or even considered), and neither is North Korea (in the travel ban) a muslim country. The list were countries US intelligence (under the Obama admin) highlighted as compromised in their security and vetting process from a US standpoint with regards to foreign travel...Trump simply operationalised that earlier finding.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/national/permanent-travel-ban/

Hence why the Supreme Court upheld the most recent iteration of it given the US executive statute on it is crystal clear.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/supreme-court-travel-ban/index.html

Neither are Visas and Permits an absolute document for access to the US, they have always been allowed to be cancelled (for any reason, given a non-citizen has no automatic right to US court system)....heck Jimmy Carter did just that for all Iranian nationals (again his decision and discretion as the Executive), no one called that an anti-muslim ban...but of course he did not campaign on that particular subject either.

Now was it (Trump Travel Ban) mostly done for optical reasons (just like the stuff he said during the campaign)? Definitely, after all improvement of the screening process can just be ramped up internally (like it has been done with some countries that have since been dropped from the travel ban list like Sudan and Iraq)....but that is nothing new in politics. It was done to give a "win" to his base, upset the opposition, and give something to think about for the neutrals on where they stand....all fits in with the polarisation strategy (started by the democrats funnily enough) of Trump.

If it was a true anti-muslim ban/policy, a) it wouldn't be done on a country basis in the first place (plenty of muslims and non muslims are found in some combination in every country) and b) if it was done on a country basis, it would have to do something like target every muslim majority country. Neither of these happened.
You are contradicting yourself. Read your post again.
 

Nilgiri

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You are contradicting yourself. Read your post again.
Nothing Trump has done affects US citizens (esp their passports), unlike this proposed move by Indian govt.

Implied discrimination towards non-citizens is whole different subject (say on official country-country basis, society-society basis person-person basis etc)....is done pretty much by every country out there and is subject to change too.

Honestly if any US president were to segregate passports given to their citizens on basis of where they were going to, it would not be supported by SCOTUS (and thus overruled), given there is no executive statute governing that I believe.
 

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I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an egregious violation of individual privacy; the ECR stamp cannot be mistaken. On the other hand, some of our men and women have suffered so bitterly that I can't help wondering if it's worth it. If even one Indian overseas worker is kept out of a bad situation, it will have been a worthwhile step.

Very mixed.
Why mixed Joe? How in the world will the colour of a passport help you, except to discriminate against you?
 

Joe Shearer

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Why mixed Joe? How in the world will the colour of a passport help you, except to discriminate against you?
Well, I was trying to drag some good intentions and some good outcomes out of one of this government's brain-addled decisions. The only helpful thing is that it will tip off the emigration officer at the airport to check that he has a proper job offer before he leaves.

I know this is papering over a bad situation. First, all that checking should be done at greater leisure, with more time to check everything. Second, the crooked work takes place at the emigration consultants' level, where they sucker the helpless, the unwary, or the merely desperate to get into supposedly sound jobs, that turn out to be nightmares. Third, ninety percent of the trouble takes place at the other end, where the employer turns out to be dubious, or downright undependable.

There are few redeeming features, about passport colour, or about this government.
 

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Well, I was trying to drag some good intentions and some good outcomes out of one of this government's brain-addled decisions. The only helpful thing is that it will tip off the emigration officer at the airport to check that he has a proper job offer before he leaves.

I know this is papering over a bad situation. First, all that checking should be done at greater leisure, with more time to check everything. Second, the crooked work takes place at the emigration consultants' level, where they sucker the helpless, the unwary, or the merely desperate to get into supposedly sound jobs, that turn out to be nightmares. Third, ninety percent of the trouble takes place at the other end, where the employer turns out to be dubious, or downright undependable.

There are few redeeming features, about passport colour, or about this government.
Joe, knowing how the subcontinent works, this will be more of a pain for these poor folks, than anything else. You rightly said, that the fraud happens at either end, the recruitment consultant, or the employer, an orange, neon yellow will be of little use.
 

Joe Shearer

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Joe, knowing how the subcontinent works, this will be more of a pain for these poor folks, than anything else. You rightly said, that the fraud happens at either end, the recruitment consultant, or the employer, an orange, neon yellow will be of little use.
I am afraid you are right, and I was just putting the best face on a bad situation.
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This is how an overwrought soul put it in print:

This is what happens when you put gutter filth into positions of power. The Modifellating Bhaktonazis should perhaps stop performing fellatio on their deity long enough to think about the fact that their own "freedom of expression" will soon be under threat from these same Nazi vermin whom they voted for and defend online like rabid hoolock gibbons.
 
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