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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Now, Ministry of External Affairs to be aam-aadmi compliant

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 07, 2011
First Published: 20:40 IST(7/1/2011) | Last Updated: 20:56 IST(7/1/2011)

Now, UPA’s aam admi slogan has caught up with the Foreign Ministry. A plan is soon to be unveiled to make Ministry of External Affairs aam admi-compliant, so to speak.

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The initiatives being put in place for ‘taking MEA to common man’ are aimed at addressing problems ordinary citizens face in availing the services of the MEA, especially the passport and consular services. That the MEA officials hope will change the perception of foreign ministry among the aam admi.

To begin with, there will be passport adalats to clear the backlog in passport offices across the country every month.  The first of the adalat will take place in regional passport office, Delhi, on January 8. Then each passport offices have been instructed to clear the pending applications through adalat to be held in every month.

“The Ministry is introducing a practice of monthly Passport Adalats at all the 37 passport offices across India to speed up the process of issuance of passports. We are also committing additional manpower and technical resources to assist in this endeavour”, external affairs minister SM Krishna said.

Along with passport services come the consular services and the problem faced by Indians abroad, especially the migrant workers. To begin with the Ministry has made a special cell to take care of the complaints that the MPs and MLAs bring from people of their constituencies under a joint secretary.

The officials have been directed to send an action-taken report on each complaint rather than the acknowledgements.  The problems of foreign workers, and ferrying the bodies will be given top priority, am official said. The Ministry is creating a fund, by collecting Rs. 100 per each case of passport-related works in undertakes. And this money will be used for ferrying the bodies of nationals who cannot afford such expenses particularly from the Gulf countries.

Another area where the MEA is planning to introduce reforms is providing better services to Haj pilgrims.

“We managed to streamline the systems and arrangements, introduce transparency, efficiency and objectivity (in Haj) Nearly 900 flights were organized”, said the Minister.


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