India for Indians – Open HouseBy Lavina Melwani • Mar 30th, 2012 • Category: CyberCircles: For You!
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India for Indians – Open House, No Matter Where You Are
‘Indians, We’ve Got Your back!’ That could well be the message of a recent press briefing at the Indian Consulate in New York where the Consul General of India, Prabhu Dayal announced a weekly open day for all Indian citizens in the US where they could bring up their problems to the attention of consulate officials, and seek redress.
Perhaps after the very visible troubles of the Indian couple in Norway and other cases involving Indian nationals across the world, the Open Day is an attempt by the Government of India to re-emphasize its role in assisting Indian nationals in distress. The officers of the New York Consulate will meet people on every working Thursday between 2 – 4 PM, starting from the first week of April 2012. Since this is an initiative of the External Ministry, consulates across the US will be implementing the Open Day. It is similar to the Passport Adalat, which is held in Indian cities to assist citizens.
While most people seem to lump the terms ‘Indian American’ and ‘NRI’ together, Dayal explained that this endeavor is only for Indian citizens abroad or NRIs as they are known, and not for people of Indian origin who are now American citizens. Mr. Sinha, the vice consul and his officers will meet Indian citizens and address their needs, be it passport-related or if they happen to be in trouble with the law and need consular access or assistance. These meetings would be not in an open forum but in one-on-one sessions to facilitate the welfare of Indian nationals.
Also, for Indians who are very familiar with the basement of the Indian consulate in their journeys to collect or renew Indian passports, from April 16 they will no longer be heading there; the passport services are being outsourced (the visas, OCIs, PIOS and passport surrender services are already outsourced.) to VFS Global, which was selected based on a tender to implement the outsourcing of service in the Embassy of India and other Consulates in the United States.
More details here: Consulate General of India, New York