‘For Pravasis, Sushma was the most helpful Minister’

Sushma Swaraj, who died in Delhi on Tuesday night, was the most effective and helpful Foreign Minister in terms of the welfare of the Prasvasi community in the Gulf, according to K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust who has lived in the Gulf region for over four decades.

“She used to strive for a solution to Pravasis’ problems, big or small,” Mr. Shamsudheen told The Hindu. It was the efforts made by her for issuing Aadhaar cards to NRIs that led to the announcement by the current Union Finance Minister during the last Budget speech. Mr. Shamsudheen recalled how sympathetic she was when he had met her in New Delhi to bring to her notice the difficulties faced by NRIs, mainly those in the Gulf, as they were denied the right to get Aadhaar.

He said that the then stipulation was that Aadhaar could be issued to an NRI who stayed for at least six months in India. For an NRI worker in the Gulf, this was near-impossible as he would lose his job when he returned after a six-month stay in India. At the same time, for many financial transactions and certificates, Aadhaar was a must. Swaraj had assured Mr. Shamsudheen that steps would be taken to correct this situation.

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