Students going abroad to be registered, govt to enact new law

The recent attacks on Indian students in Australia also prompted the government to ponder over deputing a counsellor exclusively for students in certain diplomatic missions abroad. The Centre is also contemplating a legislation to register and govern all agents and counsellors involved in the business of sending Indian students to study in foreign institutions.

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that the Ministry of External Affairs was expected to depute one officer in some diplomatic missions specifically for the purpose of looking after the welfare of students. He said the government had embarked upon the E-Governance in Emigration project to make the process of mobility of both students and workers from India to foreign countries simple, orderly and transparent with the help of information technology.

“As part of the project, the details of Indian students going overseas for education will also be registered. This will help establish a database of Indian students going abroad,” said the minister. He said the project was targeted for completion by the end of 2011.

Ravi said the exact number of Indian students studying in foreign countries was not available with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, as most of them did not register with the diplomatic missions abroad. He, however, said approximately 2,64,324 Indian students were studying abroad. He presented to the House a chart showing the approximate number of Indian students in 60 countries around the world.

Replying to a question by Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, Ravi said the government had received certain complaints regarding exploitation of students seeking admission for studies abroad by the agents and middlemen.

He said the his ministry was in the process of finalising a legislative proposal to replace the existing Emigration Act 1983 with a new one that envisages regulation of enrolment agencies sending the students abroad for studies. He said the new law would lay down standards for the services provided by them and monitor compliance to the standards.

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