Ramkumar Thangaraj, Acting Consul General of India; Abdulla Lashkari Mohammad, Secretary-General of Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai; and Jitendra Vaidya, President of the Indian People Forum, honouring representatives of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children Image Credit: Ahmad Alotbi/Gulf News

Dubai: The Indian consulate in Dubai on Tuesday celebrated the third anniversary of providing “365 days of service” to the Indian expat community in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The mission honoured officials from various local authorities and community workers for their volunteering services that play a major role in helping the consulate meet the needs of the community.

Since August 2020, the Consulate General of India in Dubai has been providing 365 days’ assistance to the Indian community members in need of consular services. While the consulate employees work throughout the year, the mission acknowledged that the initiative by the Consul General of India in Dubai, Dr Aman Puri, has been possible only with the continuous support extended by the UAE local authorities, Indian associations, community welfare groups, volunteers, and partners like BLS International and IVS Global who provide outsourced services of the consulate.

Ramkumar Thangaraj, Acting Consul General of India; Abdulla Lashkari Mohammad, Secretary-General of Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai; and Jitendra Vaidya, President of the Indian People Forum honoured the officials and volunteers who have supported the Indian Consulate in Dubai to deliver year-round services.

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Abdulla Lashkari Mohammad with a worker during the event Image Credit: Ahmad Alotbi/Gulf News

“On this occasion, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the UAE authorities for their constant support for the consulate and to the Indian community… Their outstanding initiatives and innovation in every field are unparalleled in any country in the world. Thanks to their support, millions of Indians are able to succeed and contribute to the development of both the countries,” said Thangaraj.

“Your support either individually or through associations is our backbone to deliver consulate’s services. You provide us with compassion, faith, synergy, on-time guidance, suggestions and most importantly alerts on emergency cases and act as our extended arms, give us foot soldiers and essential networks to provide efficient year-round services.”

Serving largest community

He added that the Indian consulate in Dubai has the honour of serving the largest Indian expat community in the world. “On average, we are delivering 1,800 to 2,000 services per day. Sometimes, it reaches more than 2,500 also,” Thangaraj said.

“Since August last year, we have delivered around 250,000 passport-related services; around 150,000 attestation-related services, repatriated mortal remains of 78 individuals and provided many other services, as the most services delivered by any Indian mission or post worldwide.”

An estimated 3.6 million Indian expats live in the UAE, with the majority staying in Dubai and the northern emirates that come under the jurisdiction of the consulate, while those in Abu Dhabi come under the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

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Thangaraj also highlighted various initiatives to serve the Indian community, particularly the large group of workers, including the project to upskill them and the 24/7 helpline run by the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK) under the consulate. Recently, the mission introduced Artificial Intelligence-enabled features to personalise the services provided by PBSK, which also runs free legal and psychological counselling services.

Meanwhile, Abdulla Lashkari Mohammad delivered his speech in Hindi, drawing loud applause from the Indian audience.

“It feels nice to see when people are appreciated for their work with pictures on social media. But there are many people who work silently without seeking publicity. These Indian brothers and sisters who work from their hearts and brighten up the name of their motherland need to be appreciated for their selfless services,” he said.

Jitendra Vaidya pointed out that the services offered by the consulate had seen great improvement over the years and the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be the busiest time for the consulate employees in rendering services to the Indian expats.

“COVID has given us the chance to reinvent ourselves and that was the time when the consulate started 365 days’ services. We offer our standing ovation to the entire consulate team for tirelessly serving the community, right from the office boy to the Consul General,” he said.

Advocate Bindu S Chettur, one of the legal counsellors with PBSK who were honoured, said several Indians have benefitted from the free legal counselling services through the PBSK. “Apart from legal counselling, we also try to help those in distress with the support of community volunteers,” she added.

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Thangaraj, Vaidya, and Abdulla Lashkari Mohammad honouring Advocate Bindu S Chettur Image Credit: Ahmad Alotbi/Gulf News

Along with various community volunteers who support the consulate in solving labour cases and repatriating bedridden patients and mortal remains of deceased Indians, those honoured included representatives of government hospitals that support Indian patients in need, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children who help abandoned Indian women and children by providing them shelter, and officials of local government departments.