Aiming to improve passport services, the Indian government has launched the first Videsh Bhavan in Mumbai. The Videsh Bhavan will assimilate all Regional Passport Offices (RPO) under one roof. However, the assimilation process will be carried out in a phased manner. In the first phase, the assimilation has been conducted as part of a pilot project. In the first phase, four offices of the MEA – Regional Passport Office (RPO), Protector of Emigrants (PoE) office, Branch Secretariat and Regional Office of the ICCR have been covered. These have now been brought under one roof and will function from the sate-of-the-art office at Videsh Bhavan. The country’s first ever Videsh Bhavan was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today.
The inauguration ceremony of the country’s first Videsh Bhavan was attended by several other dignitaries such as Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Retd.) V.K. Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and Administrator of Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Praful Patel. At the inauguration function, Sushma Swaraj talked about the major changes introduced by the government to improve the passport process. “Earlier, orphans who didn’t have a birth certificate weren’t allowed to issue passports. Similarly, divorcees were not issued passports as well. We have changed these rules and amended them so that they are more citizen-friendly,” Swaraj said.