A screengrab shows the chat tool, the right, powered by AI. Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: Indian expats in distress will now get consular help with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a chatbot through the website of the Consulate General of India (CGI) in Dubai.

The Indian Consulate on Wednesday announced that it is set to revamp the operations of the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), an expat welfare initiative that runs a 24x7 helpdesk, with the new features.

The mission said it is “a significant move aimed at enhancing consular services and support for the Indian community in Dubai” and will “address the growing demand” as there has been a surge in the number of cases reported to the PBSK since its relocation to the premises of CGI, Dubai, on November 1, 2020.


“The large Indian community in the UAE has been actively engaging with PBSK, with an average of 3,500 calls, instant messages, emails, and walk-ins being registered each month,” the consulate said.

To enhance the operational efficiency of PBSK, the consulate said, it has collaborated with a leading Indian Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider –Zoho Corporation.

“Through this collaboration, Zoho has undertaken a thorough overhaul of the PBSK’s help desk operations, leveraging its state-of-the-art CRM system. This system is tailored to meet PBSK’s specific needs and is expected to improve the experience of the Indian community in the UAE seeking consular services.”

How it works

The revamped PBSK system will utilise advanced technology, such as AI to offer personalised support to its users. Features such as a chatbot and a knowledge base on the CGI Dubai website will assist users in finding information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Through the virtual assistant chatbot, one can get details about various services offered by the consulate under the categories such as passport, attestation, consular, labour, visa/OCI/renunciation, trade, commerce and education.

The chatbot requires the user to enter an email ID to start accessing the service. This will enable PBSK to keep track of the records in the future and help the users to get the transcript of the chat session emailed to them, the consulate clarified to Gulf News. It added that the option to enter a mobile number will also be provided soon to help workers who may not have email IDs.

Online appointment booking

An online system for booking appointments for free legal and psychological counselling services has also been added on the consulate’s website.

“The system will provide a convenient method for booking counselling sessions with legal, psychological, and financial experts, thus offering comprehensive support to the Indian community in the UAE,” the consulate said.

Consul General of India in Dubai Dr. Aman Puri said: “We are excited to announce our collaboration with Zoho Corporation to revamp the operations of Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra. Our aim is to continually enhance the support and services we offer to the Indian community in Dubai and Northern Emirates. This partnership represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to provide efficient, timely, and personalized consular services. We believe this digital transformation will set a new standard in our service delivery.”

Seamless communication

The integration of the Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk solution is said to be a pivotal milestone in the transformation of the PBSK helpdesk.

The mission said the system provides a unified platform for managing user interactions, monitoring progress, and ensuring timely updates. The CRM system will enable the PBSK Helpdesk team to efficiently process user requests and communicate seamlessly across multiple channels, including email, chat, and phone calls.

Hyther Nizam, President at Zoho Middle East and Africa said: “For over 25 years, Zoho has been empowering organisations across the globe to deliver exceptional customer experiences and achieve higher efficiency. With an unwavering commitment towards a ‘transnational localism’ strategy, Zoho is continuously seeking to create value for the local community. We do this by focusing on privacy and security, localising our offerings, continually innovating and blending in latest technologies, and providing an unparalleled experience for organisations and industry professionals.”

Prem Anand Velumani, Regional Manager at Zoho Middle East and Africa, added: “We are honoured to become the trusted partner for the Consulate General of India and support them in realising their digital transformation and sustainability goals.”

How to seek help

PBSK provides 24 hours and 365 days of assistance to the Indian community members in need of consular services. The PBSK helpdesk can be reached via its toll-free number in the UAE: 800 46342. The chatbot can be accessed on the CGI, Dubai website.