The COVID-19 pandemic left many NRIs and Indians stranded abroad because of lockdowns and visa issues, separated from their families. Many in India had relatives abroad who needed legal, financial and other types of assistance with communication and logistic problems caused by travel bans and shutdowns.
Anup Bhasin, a chartered accountant and lawyer by training and a business leader and entrepreneur, is the co-founder and CEO of Star NRI Services. The company was launched in 2021 out of the necessity of taking care of the issues and problems faced by NRIs in India. Anup and his partners found there was an emerging need to consolidate services for NRIs located across the globe, a situation magnified by pandemic restrictions.
In an exclusive interview, Anup told Connected to India about what led to the formation of Star NRI Services. He said the idea of a consolidated services provider for Indians abroad came to mind after two of the company's co-founders sought each others' help in dealing with legal and asset management during the pandemic and they got in touch with NRI friends and family members to understand the problems faced by them.
"Based upon this analysis of the pain points of NRIs and key findings that NRIs need to approach multiple providers for different aspects of the same transaction and that there is little credibility of service providers in many of these areas, Star NRI Services was established in mid-2021," Anup told Connected to India.
Anup further said that even in normal times, Indians living abroad faced the inconvenience of having to frequently travel to India and deal with multiple agencies. Star NRI Services’ stated goal is to ease the problems of NRIs by providing professionally managed end-to-end services from a single platform.
The types of services they offer include assistance in buying, selling, renting and maintaining NRIS' real estate; dealing with legal, business and taxation issues; banking and money transfers and other issues.
Anup said that in the few months since Star NRI opened its doors, some of the most frequent inquiries and requests included issues related to remitting money back home, issues with managing real estate and maintaining properties, legal queries and queries about financial and taxation assistance.
"In the short period of time since we started operations, we have received inquiries in three digits and have fulfilled a large percentage of them. We will expand our suite of services in due course based upon the type of inquiries we are receiving," Anup said.
He also talked about how they have a two-phase process of education and fulfillment to help Indians living abroad cut through red tape and procedural obstacles.
"Firstly, we educate our clients about the process to be followed in India for various activities, including the need for providing complete and accurate information in the required application forms. Secondly, we guide them in completing the appropriate application forms correctly so that the service providers in India do not go back asking for more information or clarifications," he said.
Moving on to crimes involving Indians overseas; Anup said their research had found that apart from real estate and marriage, NRIs' bank and demat accounts are another area which witness frequent frauds.
"Bank and demat frauds occur largely due to accounts becoming dormant due to lack of activity; improper or no nominations; inadequate monitoring of statements and transactions by NRIs and accounts being in single names. Our quest is to meet a customer’s requirement end-to-end rather than simply completing a transaction and receiving fees," Anup said, signing off.