OVER THE past three years, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has rescued and extricated 80,000 Indians from unfavourable situations in foreign lands, said Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj. She said that since the BJP came to power, the MEA’s character has seen a major change.
“In 2014, there were only 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) across the country but in the past six months alone, we have set up 235 new PSKs,” she said at the inauguration of the country’s first Videsh Bhavan — an integrated office for the state arm of MEA — on Sunday. The Videsh Bhavan at Bandra Kurla Complex houses all four subordinate offices of MEA, the regional passport office, the protector of emigrants, the branch secretariat and the regional office of the ICCR.
Swaraj said the Videsh Bhavan is the pilot project for a larger plan to set up similar bhavans in state capitals. “We plan to conduct counselling sessions here for all outgoing Indians…we will make people aware of laws of the country they are visiting and warn them about dubious employment agencies,” said Swaraj.