90,000 Indians Stranded Abroad Rescued in Past Few Years, Says Official

About 90,000 Indian nationals have been rescued from various conflict zones, countries hit by natural calamities and other hazardous situations in the last few years, Indian official Dnyaneshwar M Mulay said.


Nearly 90,000 Indian nationals have been rescued from various conflict zones, countries hit by natural calamities and other hazardous situations, and brought back to India safely over the last few years, Dnyaneshwar M Mulay, the Secretary of Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said.

“Our dictum is pro-people and people-centric policies with a larger motto of Sarvajan hitay, Sarvajan sukhaiy (benefit for all, welfare for all). And, part of that rubric is Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF),” Mulay said on the sidelines of an event on Jan. 20, PTI reported.

Stating that the Ministry of External Affairs would not want any Indian to suffer under any circumstance in foreign countries, he added that under the ICWF, around 90,000 people have been safely removed from challenging circumstances and brought back to India in the last few years.

While receiving the Kalam Innovation in Governance Award, Mulay emphasized upon the government’s efforts to make the delivery of passport a simple, more efficient and transparent process. “By March 2018, 251 new passport kendras would become functional. Also, we have set up a target that no person has to travel more than a radius of 50 km to get a passport,” he said, the report added.

He also said that the latest additions to the Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) is the newly inaugurated POPSK center at Karaikal in Puducherry. In order to provide passport-related services on a larger scale, these centers located at head post offices have been set up by the MEA in collaboration with the Department of Posts across the country.

The ICWF, set up in 2009, is aimed at assisting Overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency in the most deserving cases on a means tested basis. The ICWF is expected to provide Indian missions and posts abroad greater flexibility in swiftly addressing requests for assistance by Overseas Indian nationals. The three key areas that the ICWF serves are assisting overseas Indian nationals in distress situations, support for community welfare activities, and improvement in consular services.

To assist overseas Indians in distressed situations, the ICWF provides them boarding and lodging facilities on a means tested basis in budget category or shelters run by the mission, post or NGOs empaneled with the mission.

It also provides air passage to India to nationals stranded overseas, as also legal assistance on a means tested basis to deserving overseas Indian nationals like fishermen, seamen, sailors and Indian students who have committed minor crimes and offences or have been falsely implicated by their employer and put in jails.

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