Indian group files petition against consular fee hike



RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN

Published — Saturday 8 December 2012

Last update 8 December 2012 1:44 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Riyadh-based Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA) filed a petition in India yesterday against the 250 percent increase in the consular fees for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the Kingdom. The new fee hike became effective on Oct. 1.
R. Muraleedharan, president of the federation, said that earlier his organization had opposed the hike and urged the Indian government to immediately withdraw its decision. The government paid no heed to the petition and so FOKASA decided to take a legal redress.
For a 36-page passport of 10-year validity, the all-inclusive fee in India was 1,000 Indian rupees (equivalent to SR 72). The new fee is SR 282, which means an NRI from Saudi Arabia must pay an increased cost of almost 400 percent to renew his passport in Saudi Arabia.
The passport renewal fees are yet higher for passports containing 60 pages, with a cost of SR 376, and SR 939 when issued through the “tatkal” service.
Such applicants have to pay an additional fee of SR 15 for the outsourcing agency and another SR 8 for the Indian Community Welfare Fund.
The current fee structure became effective in July 1993, subsequent to the passing of Passport (Amendment) Act of 1992, which allowed the government to fix the fee on the basis of actual cost incurred on issuing a passport. In 1993, the passport fee was Rs 300 and it was revised in 2002 to Rs 1,000.
However, the government asserts that over the last 10 years, costs have escalated for capital expenditures, procurement of equipment, reimbursement to police authorities, postal payments, passport printings, personalization costs, IT expenses and contractual payment service to many service providers. The rise in costs required increased fees, according to the Indian government.
During the last few years, the ministry had been engaged in reforms in delivery of passport services as envisioned under Passport Seva Project. Under the project, the ministry had set up 77 Passport Seva Kendras, the Indian government release added.
Muraleedharan told Arab News yesterday that the petition was to quash the notification issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Sept. 30, which had increased the Passport and Travel Documents fee by 140 to 250 percent for NRIs in all the Indian missions abroad, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The petition also sought to stay the implementation of the notification pending disposal of the writ petition. The petition will be taken up for hearing on Monday. Senior Advocate K. Ramkumar would support the writ filed on behalf of FOKASA. Other attorneys appearing on behalf of petitioners include Advocates M. Sreekumar and A. Abdulkharim.
The petitioners were Rafi Pangodu,K.P. Harikrishnan and Siddique Nilambur, office-bearers of FOKASA.
The respondents included Union of India, represented by the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Embassy of India, Riyadh, represented by its ambassador.
“With the new fees, an ordinary contract worker in Saudi Arabia has to pay almost one month’s salary for the passport alone. The average salary of a laborer is SR 350 per month,” Muraleedharan explained.
The statement of the Ministry of External Affairs, justifying the reasons for the fee increase are unacceptable, he said “Since the blank passports are printed in India, the ministry only has to bear the cost of transporting the passports from Delhi to Saudi Arabia. We request the Ministry of External Affairs to unify all passport related fees.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
RIYADH: Plans are underway to shift the labor dispute commission in the Ministry of Labor to the Ministry of Justice. Related discussions were held here Thursday between Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani.The disc...
JEDDAH: Drifting has taken a heavy toll of young men who spent their time and energy in the pursuit of this dangerous game for lack of family awareness and guidance.Observers said that the last decade witnessed a dramatic increase in traffic accident...
RIYADH: A mass brawl between migrant workers at a company along Al-Thumama Road broke out in Riyadh on Thursday, causing the death of one worker and the burning of two police vehicles.A Riyadh police source said authorities received a report on Thurs...
JEDDAH: Thousands of expatriates living in Jeddah, who are non-Arabic speakers, were excited about the monthlong 36th Jeddah Festival.The Jeddah and summer festivals this year had a number of theatrical events, entertainment programs, fireworks, arti...
MADINAH: In a tragic Madinah incident, two children died and a woman was injured in a fire which broke out in a house.Capt. Naif bin Mohammad Al-Juhani, spokesman for Civil Defense, said the control room received information about the fire incident i...
JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco said it has financed building 63,000 houses for Saudis through the citizen house owning program implemented by the company. The company said it has granted 1,037 loans to Saudis to build new houses in 2014, stressing that this pr...
RIYADH: A special team of officials from the Ministry of Health, led by Deputy Minister Hamad Aldhwilaa, visited hospitals in the southern border area to ensure that services are available to serve patients in the Asir, Jazan and Najran regions.On ar...
DAMMAM: On April 30 1935, drilling started on test well No. 1 in Dammam. After seven months, only gas was found with traces of oil at a depth of 700 meters. So it had to be plugged. Drilling began on Dammam well No. 2 on Feb. 8, 1936, and started pro...
JEDDAH: A team of doctors at King Abdul Aziz Hospital carried out emergency life-saving surgery on a Kazakh pilgrim who was suffering from a rare disease, on the night of Eid Al-Fitr, according to a website.The 17-year-old Kazakh pilgrim was brought...
JEDDAH: Members of sector committees affiliated with the Council of Saudi Chambers have tried to reach a settlement with the Ministry of Labor that would allow laborers to work on their projects during the day.The attempt was made based on an agreeme...
JEDDAH: The increase in school fees has caused parents to remove their children from private schools and enroll them in public schools in Madinah.With the approaching new school year, many parents were surprised to find that school fees were increase...
RIYADH: The size of the tourism industry has crossed the SR100-million mark with around 130 organizations in the field and the revenues generated through festivals are approximately SR11 billion annually, experts have said. The figures have been prov...
JEDDAH: A total of 105 pay-and-park areas have been opened in the city, including Jeddah historical district, downtown market place, Bab Makkah, Al Andalus Street and Palestine Street.Hani Ahmad Abdullah, media spokesperson for Jeddah Municipality, s...
RIYADH: Moroccan Ambassador Abdussalam Baraka has praised “excellent” trade and bilateral relations between his country and Saudi Arabia and expected the ties to grow further.Speaking on the occasion of Morocco’s National Day on Thursday night, the e...

Stay Connected

Facebook