On Wednesday External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate the country’s first Videsh Bhavan, assimilating all Regional Passport Offices under one roof, at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here on Sunday said officials. As a first pilot project, four offices of MEA – Regional Passport Office (RPO), Protector of Emigrants (PoE) office, Branch Secretariat and Regional Office of ICCR – have been assimilated and brought under one roof at the state-of-art office, said Regional Passport Officer Swati Kulkarni.
Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Retd) V.K. Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Administrator of Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Praful Patel and other dignitaries will be present on the occasion, she said. The formal inauguration on August 27 by Sushma Swaraj 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.
But the existing Passport Seva Kendras in Thane and Malad (Mumbai) will continue to function. The pilot project of the Videsh Bhavan of Mumbai is part of the Centre’s policy to bring together different offices of the MEA under a single roof and work closely with states as more and more Indians are going abroad for employment, education, business, and tourism. Currently, many of the 90-plus RPOs and PoEs function from rented offices and the implementation of Videsh Bhavans in different state capitals is expected to cut costs besides ensuring improving efficiency and hastening delivery of services.