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Indian helpline in UAE receives 70,000 calls in 4 yrs

A toll-free helpline set up by India to deal with problems of 20 lakh Indians in the UAE especially the blue-collar workers has received almost 70,000 calls since its inception four years ago.

The Indian Workers Resource Centre, an outsourced facility, was inaugurated by then president Pratibha Patil during her visit to the UAE in November 2010.

The 24×7 toll-free helpline 800INDIA (80046342) now receives an average of 70 calls a day compared to the 40 calls of late, Khaleej Times reported, citing IWRC officials.

“The daily call volume has gone up from 40 to 70… That is a big achievement,” said Anish Choudhury, Senior Manager Operations at IWRC.

“We noticed that the number of calls started going up after the IWRC hotline number was publicised through the centres for Indian document attestation, passport and visa application, and other places with more visibility to Indians,” he said.

The centre has received almost 70,000 calls since its inception. A large number of calls are enquiries about passport services and other general information and legal support.

In the past four years, almost 6,500 people walked into the centre, seeking help and for counselling services. About 4,850 counselling sessions have been held up till last month, with legal counselling topping the list at about 4120 sessions.

“From bad tactics by employers to abusive debt collection methods by banks, most of the problems reported turn out to be legal cases,” said Chaudhury.

Over 500 psychological counselling sessions were held to address personal and family matters, while almost 220 sessions were offered to assist callers with financial advice.

“If any worker is not able to come over, we are also providing telephonic counselling service, provided we have documented evidence that the caller is an Indian. For having a talk of 20 minutes, they don’t have to come all the way to the centre,” said Chaudhury.

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