Dubai: The Consulate General of India in Dubai issued 207,400 passports for Indian expats in the last one year, thanks to its passport section working six days a week, with Sundays being reserved for emergency cases, it was announced on Monday.
The figure was shared among other achievements of the consulate in the past year, Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai, said in a media briefing on Monday held at the consulate. The occasion also marked the second anniversary of the mission’s move to keep its doors open round the clock to serve the Indian diaspora of 3 million people.
“Keeping a consulate open, staffed and welcoming all 24 hours of the day is a tough challenge. Yet we have accomplished this with the support of our officers and the dedicated team,” Dr Puri said.
'Faster, easier' renewals
Tadu Mamu, Consul (Press, Information, Labor & Culture) said passport renewals for Indian expats in the UAE has become “faster and easier. On average, 1,000 passports are issued by the Passport Section in a day, so you can imagine the turn-around we have for renewals”.
Out of the 207,400 passports issued by the consulate in last one year, 24,384 passports were issued on weekends. “Passport services are now being delivered in a fast and transparent manner.”
The consulate also organised three walk-in Seva Camps this year on Sundays at various BLS Centre locations in Dubai and northern emirates for accepting passports applications without appointment. Besides the passport service, the application for visa is now processed the same day and delivered to applicants the next day, said Mamu.
Dr Puri said the consulate provided 121,075 attestation services in the last year, out of which 11,078 attestation services were provided at the premises of the Indian Association in northern emirates on weekends. “Consulate officers visit various locations in northern emirates on weekends to provide the consular services there,” he added.
24/7 helpline system
The consulate set up a 24/7 helpline number dedicated for distressed females. Consulate also provides 24/7 death registration services. “For enabling easy access to consular e-services, distress cases, and grievances, a single-window e-helpline system was launched,” said Mamu. “The consulate was able to help with labour cases and other distress cases requiring emergency intervention on part of the consulate.”
Indian nationals who wanted to avail the amnesty scheme by the UAE Government were assisted by the consulate with the issuance of travel documents on a gratis basis, including 3,533 Emergency Certificates. The consulate worked towards facilitating repatriation for people who may not have their travel documents, passports, or even their photocopies. New passports or Emergency Certificates are issued to these applicants the same day and handed over to them at the airport.
“To make the services of Pravasi Bhartiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK) more robust and accessible, the PBSK operations were shifted to the consulate’s premises, with provisions for daily walk-ins and legal, financial, psychological services availability. Last year, 1,784 counselling services have been provided by the consulate, said Dr Puri. “To further streamline the process the PBSK mobile app was launched. Via this app, expats can directly access different services with a click of a button,” he added.
‘Breakfast with CG’
Another achievement by the consulate has been to spread information about various welfare schemes of the Government of India, raise awareness about health and finance matters via the ‘Breakfast with CG’ community outreach program, which gave blue-collar workers an opportunity to directly interact with the CG [Consul General], said Dr Puri.
Other initiatives over the past year included raising awareness on human trafficking issues by the consulate in collaboration with Dubai Foundation for Women and Children; launch of several up-skilling and training centres for Indian blue-collar workers to help them rejoin the workforce, and handling 30,936 calls (30 per cent of these calls were felicitated on the weekends).