Saturday, December 16

Dubai And India – The Economic Connection

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Dubai has a romantic connotation with India. A fishing village a hundred years back, it has now been transformed into a mega city. Dubai had a strategic importance as for centuries sea farers and traders visited Dubai as an enroute stop on their way up the Persian Gulf to Iraq and Iran.

The oil boom of the mid sixties fueled a massive surge of development and Dubai also gained. It rapidly grew, but dwindling oil revenues made the city fathers look for alternative source of income and investment. Thus Dubai transformed into a tourist and business centre for company headquarters and off shore business.

This growth of the city needed manpower. As the indigenous Arab population was very less expats were inducted into Dubai to power the dream of Dubai as a financial centre.  This man power came from India and the sub continent which had a large population.

The reason for this migration of workforce from India is as a large number of Indian populations are living below the poverty line the chance to earn better wages is always a lure. Despite living in poor accommodation and little civil liberties, the workers came as the  wages the workers received  were better than what they made  back home in India.

But over the years the Indian connection has grown as Dubai has invited big Indian conglomerates to tie up in partnership for economic benefits.  Dubai has also expanded the India connection to India itself.As an example Dubai World runs Chennai Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd.In addition the Grand Fort Dubai, at Al Furjan is being developed in conjunction with Bharat Hotels as a joint venture.Going ahead Dubai World holds stakes in Nava Shave port close to Mumbai.

However a lot of these projects out of Dubai are now getting delayed as the liquidity crunch has hit Dubai. The Down slide and the default of Dubai world have hit the Indian expatriate work force the hardest. A lot many of them have just been laid off and some packed off back home without being paid their minimum wages as well. But despite this the connection between India and Dubai is strong. Remittances from Dubai  have topped the list for Indians from anywhere else and the tax less  regime has given a chance to a lot many people to earn some money. The downslide though officially not affected India, but the fact remains that remittances have dropped as the work force is reduced. In addition a lot many unemployed workers have swelled the ranks of other unemployed in India. The worst affected is Kerala which had the largest population of workers in Dubai.

The city of glass and concrete could not have been built without the work force from India. To that extant credit must be given to  the Indian hand in the development of Dubai and it cannot be wished away.

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