Indian embassy cancels BLS Intl's visa outsourcing contract

Last Updated : 04 May 2018, 08:14 IST
Last Updated : 04 May 2018, 08:14 IST

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The Indian embassy here has cancelled a contract for visa outsourcing awarded to an Indian firm in July and issued invitation for fresh bids, without citing any reason.

BLS International Services Ltd, whose contract has been cancelled by the embassy, was scheduled to replace Travisa for visa processing with effect from October 1. The contract of Travisa, which expired on September 30, has been extended by three months till December 31, 2012.

Under the cancelled contract, BLS was to charge USD7.30 per applicant as the service provider's fee instead of the USD13 being currently charged by Travisa India Outsourcing.

Without giving any justification and reasoning, the Indian embassy issued a fresh bid for visa outsourcing on contract on October 10. Both the invitation for bids and request for proposal (RFP) for outsourcing of services issued by the Indian embassy on October 10 left a number of questions unanswered for the prospective bidders.

Flooded by questions of prospective bidders, the Indian embassy issued a six-page clarification yesterday. November 1 is the last day for submission for bids.

In its rejoinder, the Indian embassy yesterday clarified that only Indian companies would be allowed to bid for outsourcing of visas. During the previous bidding process Indo-German Consultancy Services Neumarkt was disqualified by the Indian embassy.

Meanwhile, the number of visas issued by the Indian embassy here and four other consulates in the US -- Houston, San Francisco, Chicago and New York -- has dropped by more than a lakh in the past one year.

In the year 2011, as many as 3,44,458 Indian visas were issued by the Indian diplomatic missions in the US, which dropped to 2,39,996 visas. This is a significant drop of over 30 per cent in one year.

In the year 2010, as many as 3,35,025 visas were issued. These figures were released by the Indian embassy on its website in response to the questions asked by the prospective bidders for outsourcing of visas by the Indian embassy in Washington and its four other Consulates in Houston, San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

The fifth Consulate in Atlanta has started its operation from the first of this month. Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao formally inaugurated the Indian Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday.

In its bidding document, the embassy has informed the prospective bidders that it is scheduled to open its sixth Consulate in Seattle in the near future.

According to the break-up of last three years provided by the Indian embassy, there is also drop in the number of OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) and PIO (People of Indian Origin) cards between the fiscal years of 2011 and 2012.

As against 78,894 OCI cards issued in 2011, the figures dropped to 71,831 the next year. But there was a marginal drop in the issuance of PIO cards – from 31,449 in 2011 to 30,091 in 2012.

In 2011, as many as 23,627 Indian nationals renounced their citizenship and surrendered their Indian passports; while in 2012 the figure dropped to 11,977.

Published 24 October 2012, 08:26 IST

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