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Qatar was severely criticised by International community and International labour Organization (ILO) in relation to the labour issues including wages, working conditions, health, document confiscation and basic rights. In October 2017, Qatar committed ILO that will work on reforming the scenario.

Since then Qatar has been taking special care towards the condition of workers. Qatar has resolved to keep a check on the strict standards of worker care, developed in consultation with human rights organisations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, according to a new report.

As per a report published by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) and Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) Joint Working Group (JWG) after JWG inspection of four different stadium construction sites and accommodation facilities, the stadiums that will host the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and the workers’ accommodation in the World Cup projects are strictly adhering to the strict standards of worker care.

JWG, which was formed in 2016 as a contributor on improving labour conditions in Qatar. It met six times during 2017 and made recommendations to improve aspects of working and living conditions, such as better storage systems for workers’ harnesses, improving health record management and providing training to contractors’ medical staff.

The SC took a quick call on working on the recommendations. As per the recent report the positive steps taken as per recommendation is the well-staffed occupational health clinics and the Workers’ Welfare Forums (WWF), set up by the SC to encourage workers to speak openly about any issues they have in relation to their work or accommodation. JWG recognised the importance of free and fair discussions in the WWFs, which are the central element of the grievance mechanisms available to workers.

Apart from strengthening WWFs, BWI will focus on delivering trainings to workers for improving their communication and leadership skills. It will also have training sessions for trainers to improve the overall impact of trainings.

As on now, association of SC with BWI, has achieved considerable improvement on the conditions of workers across World Cup projects. There is a need for consistency in efforts to achieved the desired reformation that is already been checked by JWG, that will be visiting Qatar soon this year for inspection.

 

 

Indian Ambassador P.Kumaran addressing the reception of 69th Republic Day declared that 2019 will be celebrated as Qatar-India Year of Culture. He said that “The year 2019 will be celebrated as the Qatar-India Year of Culture. We expect to organize in partnership with Qatar Museums a plethora of exciting cultural exhibitions and events that will highlight the cultural and traditional ties that bind us,”

The event was attended by various dignitaries such including the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi; Minister of Development Planning and Statistics H E Dr Saleh Mohammed Salem Al Nabit; Ibrahim Fakhroo, Chief of Protocol, several ambassadors and members of Indian community.

He further stressed on importance of India- Qatar relations stating that Indian corporate look at Qatar as a promising market and are today pursuing collaborations in a number of areas, including infrastructure, information and communication technology, energy and other areas to the mutual benefit of both sides.

“Qatar’s exports to India amount to nearly $10bn per year, making India the third largest export destination for Qatari products. On the other hand, Qatar’s imports from India, currently at about $1.2bn, have grown at a healthy rate over the past several years,”

He further stated that due to direct linking Indian ports with Qatar has led to substantial increase in Qatar’s imports from India. Moreover a total of 24 fully owned Indian companies and an estimated 6000 Qatar-India joint ventures operate in various sectors of the Qatari economy.

Various recent policy decisions taken by Qatar in context to Qatar Petroleum’s decision to expand LNG output from the North Field to 100 million tonnes, Liberalisation of visa regulations, changes introduced to Company Law, the new Free Zone regulations and the proposed Permanent Residency scheme for longstanding foreign residents have stimulated strong economic relations between India and Qatar.

The strengthening of relations is also evident from the fact that number of Indian trade delegations have visited Qatar in recent months, to participate in trade exhibitions and explore business opportunities and Indian is also keen on hosting Qatari companies for collaboration in India.

Further he stated that “We appreciate Qatar’s contribution to India’s energy security, as a reliable long-term partner for our increasing energy needs. Qatar is the largest exporter of LNG and LPG to India. Our Petroleum Minister is on record as having said that India plans to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix, currently at about 7 percent to 20 percent by 2030,” Also “Qatar will therefore continue to be a key partner in our energy security calculus for many years to come,”.

Moreover, strengthening of relations between India and Qatar are of extreme importance for the welfare and well-being at the India community in Qatar which is a matter of priority. Hopefully the continued development in the relation will lead to prosperity paths for both the countries.

Over the past two months, tensions between Qatar and the UAE have reignited with claims and counter-claims relating to intrusion of warplanes to missing Qatar from the map at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi museum. US administration realises that the rift can lead to a major setback to US policy in the region. The first strategic US-Qatar dialogue that kick-started yesterday indicates a subtle hope to ease tensions in the gulf.

In the inaugural session of US-Qatar strategic dialogue US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson welcomed Qatar stating that “Qatar is a strong partner and a longtime friend of the United States. We value the U.S.-Qatar relationship and hope the talks today deepen our strategic ties”

The session focused on important areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, security, counterterrorism, energy, and aviation between Qatar and US. Apart from focusing on Civil Aviation the session focussed on memorandum of understanding that creates a framework for the United States to provide technical assistance and training to the Qatari Government on combatting human trafficking. The MoU will also lead to creation of a bilateral government working group to discuss labour practices in Qatar.

Tillerson also appreciated Qatar on making a considerable progress to improve efforts to combat terrorism. He further stated that “As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark, the United States remains as concerned today as we were at its outset. This dispute has had direct negative consequences economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States.”

He further stressed that all parties must “minimize rhetoric, exercise restraint to avoid further escalation, and work toward a resolution. A united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on counterterror – countering terrorism, defeating ISIS, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence.”

Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani expressed his gratitude to US for hosting the delegation .He thanked US for taking a just position on the blockade and agreed that that the” blockade disrupts the joint efforts in providing stabilities for the – stability for the region.” He stated that in addition to security, both countries are committed to improve labour standards and will join forces to stop all forms of human trafficking.

Secretary Mattis appreciated Qatar’s effort in maintaining excellent military-to-military relations, hosting Al Udeid Air Base, home to our Combined Air Operations Center, the United States Air Force Central Command Forward Headquarters. Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Muhammad al-Atiyah expressed that Qatar is committed to take the cooperative military initiatives for welfare of community living in Al Udeid.

The inaugural session of the strategic dialogue has been fruitful in strengthening cooperation in fields of politics, military and economic development. However the overall significance of the dialogue on the blockade and US-Qatar partnership is still awaited.