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Indian citizens living abroad get online consular help

Posted on February 26, 2015
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New Delhi, Feb 23: Indian citizens living abroad will now be able to file consular grievances online as the government today launched an e-portal to address such complaints promptly with a high degree of “accountability”.

The portal ‘Madad’ (Help) was launched at the MEA headquarters here by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said the grievance monitoring facility would enhance “accessibility” for people and fix greater “accountability and responsibility” on officials.

“The portal seeks to significantly reform the linear process adopted to post grievances from the originator of the grievance to the concerned Embassy or Consulate of India abroad and cut down the time required for grievances to be sent from Delhi to our Missions abroad and to get them to take necessary action,” Swaraj said.

Among the chief characteristics of ‘Madad’ are to speed up forwarding and handling of complaints, improve tracking and redressal and escalate unresolved cases.

“After registering, the complainant can log in and file his or her complaints, and the entire history of that grievance would be maintained online. The authorities would be assigned responsibility through a colour-coded dashboard that would change colour if the response in not given in a stipulated time,” a senior official of the MEA said.

Swaraj said such “healthy intra-department competition” would act as a deterrent for officials to not let work slide and they would therefore respond with greater accountability now, which would ultimately benefit people.

The official said that maximum priority would be given to cases related to bringing back “mortal remains” of any national.

“The colour code system will follow red-amber-green pattern, ie, missions performing well in redressing grievances would be in ‘green’, while say those keeping inordinately pending cases would show as ‘red’.

“Also, when the colour code changes, it will escalate the case to higher authorities and the entire history can later be accessed by the complainant in a summary or detailed format,” the official added.

All the stakeholders, in this consular grievance monitoring, are tightly linked to the portal, including Missions and Posts abroad and MEA’s Branch Secretariats in Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Kolkata, he added.

“The plan is also to have a call centre linked to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. Besides, we are also currently working on a mobile application to let people use the system on the go,” he said.

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