Minister’s prescription – turn off answering machines

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi had some home truths to tell the over 120 members of the elite Indian Foreign Service who had gathered for a powwow of heads of missions last week.

In his speech, Ravi made a strong pitch for turning Indian missions into welcoming institutions, so as to get rid of the widespread perception of poor accessibility, lack of courtesy and the absence of a helpful approach, especially in many of the newly started missions. His formula was simple – turn off the answering machines.

Knowing fully well that answering machines are impersonal and commonplace in most missions abroad, Ravi stressed the need for human interface to be more responsive to needs of NRIs and others wanting information and help from the country’s missions abroad.