Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is all set to inaugurate India’s first Videsh Bhavan, assimilating all Regional Passport Offices (RPOs) under one roof, at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai on Sunday, an official said yesterday.
As a first pilot project, four offices of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) –RPO, Protector of Emigrants (PoE) office, Branch Secretariat and Regional Office of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) – have been assimilated and brought under one roof at the state-of-art office, said Regional Passport Officer Swati Kulkarni.
Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd) VK Singh, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Administrator of Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Praful Patel and other dignitaries will be present on the occasion, she said. The formal inauguration on August 27 by Sushma Swaraj follows the shifting of theRPO from its Worli premises to the Videsh Bhavan from August 14 and merging of the Thane and Mumbai RPOs from August 21.
But the existing Passport Seva Kendras in Thane and Malad (Mumbai) will continue to function. The pilot project of the Videsh Bhavan of Mumbai is part of the Centre’s policy to bring together different offices of the MEA under a single roof and work closely with states as more number of Indians are going abroad for employment, education, business and tourism.
Currently, many of the 90-plus RPOs and PoEs function from rented offices and the implementation of Videsh Bhavans in different state capitals is expected to cut costs besides ensuring improving efficiency and hastening delivery of services.