Mumbai: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday inaugurated the country’s first Videsh Bhavan in Mumbai and stressed that the face of the Ministry of External Affairs has changed ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.
Speaking at the event in Mumbai, Swaraj said that the ministry has managed to open a number of passport centers all over the country.
“There were 77 passport centers in the country till 2014. We have managed to open up 235 centers in the past six months,” she said.
She added that the ministry has managed to get rid of a number of rules that created inconvenience among the ones, who applied for a passport.
“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,” she said.
The country’s first Videsh Bhavan assimilates all Regional Passport Offices under one roof.
As a first pilot project, four offices of the MEA – Regional Passport Office (RPO), Protector of Emigrants (PoE) office, Branch Secretariat and Regional Office of the ICCR – have been assimilated and brought under one roof at the state-of-art office.
Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Retd.) V.K. Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Administrator of Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Praful Patel and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.