Vajpayee On Passports
The cumbersome procedures involved in the issue of passports will be resolved soon, External Affairs Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told Parliament. He assured the Lok Sabha that he would initiate steps to simplify the procedures so that people going abroad for employment and other purposes were not harassed. This would also help root out corruption in the issue of passports. Vajpayee said he was thinking about doing away with the system of police verification. This, he admitted, was causing considerable hardship, particularly to those coming from villages. He also wanted to change the rules so that members of Parliament too could recommend issue of passports. Like deputy secretaries, MPs were also responsible persons.
This would save passport applicants the trouble of going all the way to their states for getting the signature of a known government officer. Wherever necessary, the staff strength in passport offices would be strengthened. Referring to the hardship faced by Indians going abroad for employment, Vajpayee said the government has already taken steps to regulate employment. Restrictions have been placed on certain categories of workers like nurses. The Indian missions have been instructed to report to the government complaints of discrimination against Indian nationals.
In The Dock
The four-day discussions between the Centre and representatives of port and dock workers regarding pay revision concluded in Delhi without any tangible result. While three federations of port and dock workers agreed to meet the government again on or before July 14 , the fourth federation, which is considered to have the largest membership, rejected the consensus arrived at the discussions. Labour Minister Ravindra Varma had initiated the talks on the implementation of Wage Revision Committee’s report on port and dock workers in the wake of a threat of strike by the All India Port and Dock Workers Federation.