London: The Indian High Commission here has set up a ‘Public Response Unit’ to coordinate its response to a growing number of queries received from NRIs and people of Indian origin in the UK.
“The queries are received and responded to both telephonically and by email. The initiative has been very well received and, on an average, around 600 inquiries are responded every week by the unit,” a High Commission spokesperson said following the first weekly “Open House” at India House here to directly address some of the grievances.
“Contact details of the Unit have been prominently put on the official website of the mission,” the spokesperson said.
The National Congress of Gujarati Organisations (NCGO) raised the issue of liquor licences at the interaction with Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai earlier this week.
Mahendra Jadeja, secretary-general of NCGO, said: “Anyone travelling to Gujarat must have a liquor permit to consume alcohol.
He urged the High Commission to introduce an online service to obtain a permit for those travelling to the state from Britain and the High Commissioner assured him that he would look into the matter.
The Indian High Commission also announced the launch of an online booking system for the submission of OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) applications to tackle waiting time at India House premises in central London.
“The Mission has re-started surgeries in different parts of the country where services are provided to them in their own cities. This also affords an opportunity to meet members of the Indian community to get first-hand feedback. The first surgery was undertaken in Belfast in April 2014. Further surgeries are planned beginning with Cardiff followed by Manchester,” the spokesperson added.
The process of outsourcing the collection and delivery for various services including passports, visas, OCI and PIO cards and various other consular services has been initiated and is expected to be in place by the end of this year.