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Process visas to NRIs fast: Preneet

Central government has issued order for no more delay in issuing visa to non-resident Indians.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2011 21:40 IST
HT Correspondent

Central government has issued order for no more delay in issuing visa to non-resident Indians.

The union minister of state for external affairs, Preneet Kaur, on Saturday shared the development with the media on her visit to Nabha town in her constituency Patiala.

In December last year, in the season when most NRIs visit India, many of them failed to secure visa from the Indian embassies, especially in the US cities of San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. Nearly 1 lakh NRIs waited for visa in the embassies in the US, while the applications also piled up at the Indian high commissions in Canada and the United Kingdom, in spite of the applicants' clean record.

A delegation of the NRIs met Preneet Kaur in January and sought early processing of visa. The minister attributed the backlog to slowness of the contract workers at the Indian high commissions and embassies.

"The visa processing was outsourced. The outside workers need to be pulled up," said Preneet.

"Order has gone out to all Indian embassies and high commissions to process the NRIs' visa quickly."

On the issue of disrespect to Sikh turban at foreign airports and places, Preneet said the Indian government, from time to time, had raised the matter with foreign diplomats.

"The outside countries have own laws that we can't change," she said, "but the UPA government has spoken with the French and Italian regimes and secured relaxation from Italy."

Commenting on the tossing of the turban of a Sikh protester in SAS Nagar last month, Preneet said it was a shameful act on part of the government machinery.

"The coalition government of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party will have to pay for the incidents in the coming elections."

The minister in the UPA government said the regime had welcomed the anti-corruption campaign of social activist Anna Hazare.

"One can't blame the UPA government for corruption," said Preneet. "Successive governments have been caught in allegations."