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Dr Arathi Krishna - Determined to help the NRIs

IIK Sunday, November 13, 2022
Dr Arathi Krishna - Determined to help the NRIs

When it comes to NRI issues, the name which comes to mind first, especially for the Kannadigas whether it is from Gulf or any other part of the world, is that of Dr Arathi Krishna.

Responding to pleas of NRIs during the Covid pandemic and resolving their issues especially in chartering flights, Dr Arathi Krishna played a pivotal role during the Covid pandemic period, especially for the NRIs from Karnataka state living in Kuwait.

Dr Arathi Krishna was in Kuwait recently to attend the Karnataka Rajyotsava celebration organized by Kuwait Kannnada Kootta. IndiansinKuwait.com had a brief chat with Dr Arathi Krishna, where she shares how her career and experience with Indian Embassy abroad is helping her to solve the issues of NRIs across the globe.

IIK: You were once part of the diplomatic service at Indian Embassy in Washington. And you also worked with External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi. What made you to give up your career and turn in to politics?

Dr. Arathi: I was working in the Indian Embassy in Washington for almost 12 years. During UPA government, a separate ministry for NRIs was formed and Minister Shri Vayalar Ravi appointed me as the community development officer to look after the problems faced by NRIs. I was part of developing various policies for the welfare of NRIs at that time.

Later my father wanted me to be with him and made me to take care of the community in his place. My father Begane Ramaiah is a veteran Congress leader and former rural development minister in Karnataka. So I shifted my base to my father's constituency in Udupi and started serving my constituency. It made me realise that community service was in my blood.

IIK: You were appointed as Deputy Chairperson for the Karnataka NRI Forum. How was the experience?

Dr. Arathi: During the Shri Sidharamayya’s government in Karnataka, they appointed me as the Deputy Chairperson for the State NRI Forum with a Cabinet rank. When I took up the position, there was no proper policies in place. I worked for creating policies and proper guidelines. Various initiates such as NRI Card for all NRIs from Karnataka, etc were undertaken during my time. However, by the time of implementation of all these, the government changed in Karnataka and I resigned from that post. Now unfortunately there is no Deputy Chairman for this body and nothing is functional. None of the policies have now been implemented. During my time, some NRK Cards were also printed, registrations were completed. But now all are sidelined.

IIK: How did all of these experiences helping you now?

Dr. Arathi: When I was the Deputy chairperson for NRI forum, Kannadigas around the globe knew that there is an NRI forum for them. My 12 years of experience in Indian Embassy in Washington, and my experience in Delhi in the Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs helped me to understand and solve several issues of NRIs. My connections with diaspora also helped. I was also aware of all the policies as I was worked with government during many of the policy formulation. Now even though I am not in government, my connection with both officials and the community helps me to find a solution to a large number of problems faced by our people in many countries.

IIK: During the Covid pandemic time, you helped a large number of Kannadigas across the world, Even from Kuwait for charter flights to Karnataka, people contacted you. Can you elaborate it?

Dr. Arathi: It was not only Karnataka people, many people, including Keralites, Andhra community etc were calling me for assistance during that time. Initially the major issue was travel. Even from Kuwait, for a charter flight to Karnataka, I was able to assist them in getting all the permission and approval from Delhi. Here also my connection with my earlier colleagues in Washington and the Ministry was a big help.

As you know, in US, the Indian mission is very big. We have 6 or more Indian consulate in US and our Ambassador is in Washington DC. So I got an opportunity to work with many IFS officers who all are Ambassadors of various countries now. In fact, I worked with Ambassador Sibi George and previous Ambassador Shri Sunil Jain also in the US. So it was possible for me to attend to requests with immediacy and sensitivity to their needs.

During the crisis in Afghanistan also, we were able to bring back many Indians from Karnataka who got stuck there.

Later from Ukraine, we could help the smooth evacuation of Kannadigas using all these official and non-official contacts.

IIK: How you are able to reach and interact with the non-resident Kannadigas across the globe?

Dr. Arathi: Even though I am not holding any official post now, people are still connecting with me for their issues. Many Karnataka Associations across the Middle East, US, UK etc invites me for their function as I was able to help them when they need any assistance. Sometime the fact that I am not in any official position helps me to get things done. If you are in an official position, you must follow some protocols and it may be difficult for you to do something which is not in the rules while helping people. Now I can take the phone and call my connections in any Embassy or Government bodies in Delhi to get things done. So this helps.

IIK: What are the major problems faced by the non-resident Kannadigas?

Dr. Arathi: The problem for our people changes from country to country. In US the majority of the issues are about their student education, property related issue etc, whereas in Middle East majority are related to blue collar job, cheating by fraud agents, cheating by the employer etc. Earlier we had listed several fraud agencies in Karnataka to create awareness among our people, but now there is no Ministry to follow-up on this.

IIK: There are a large number of NRIs from Karnataka here in Kuwait. What is your message to them?

Dr. Arathi: I am very happy to see that our people are very much interested to keep their connection with their roots. These associations want to do programs as they want their children to learn and follow their traditions.

Even from Kuwait, many Kannadigas and Kannada associations are in touch with me regularly for their issue. One of the issue they are pointed to me is the lack of daily direct flights to Bangalore and Mangalore. Let me see what we can do in solving their issues.

Kannadigas are now actively working towards helping their fellow people from the state. I believe the Covid situation had taught us how to unitedly help the people in need and I feel they should continue always to do this. Teach your kids your roots and help it make alive.



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Express your comment on this article

 
Rana Gill
Monday, November 14, 2022
Great job for NRIS

William DSouza
Monday, November 14, 2022
Great Service to NRIs in particular

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