Over 80,000 Indians in distress were rescued to safety from various countries in thee years since the NDA government led by Prime minister Narendra Modi came into power, According to a statement by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “The MEA now has a humane face. Earlier, we kept hearing that even if couple of citizens are in distress, countries like the United States and Israel would rescue them from anywhere. It is heartening to share that we have rescued 80,000 Indians in three years,” Swaraj said.
She was speaking at the inauguration of the country’s first Videsh Bhavan, assimilating all Regional Passport Offices and allied departments under a single roof at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here. Swaraj said the government had brought in several changes due to which “India has emerged as an influential and sensitive state across the world”. On the issue of passports, she reiterated the government’s resolve for effective and speedy service delivery.
“Till 2014, only 77 Passport Seva Kendras were operating in the country. Now, 251 such centres are working, of which 235 were made functional in the last six months.” On the efforts to streamline procedures for issuance of passports, she said many rules that created hurdles in this regard have been discarded and made more relevant to the present times.
Earlier, Sushma Swaraj lit the ceremonial lamp to inaugurate the Videsh Bhavan in the presence of Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh (retd), Fadnavis, and Administrator of Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Praful Patel, besides other dignitaries.
The inauguration follows the shifting of the RPO from its Worli premises to the Videsh Bhavan from August 14 and merging of the Thane and Mumbai RPOs from August 21, which have already become functional. The existing Passport Seva Kendras in Thane, Thane-II, Malad (Mumbai) and Nashik will continue to function from their existing locations but under the administrative jurisdiction of the RPO Mumbai.