Terrorism in India – The common man

Indian’s government’s inability to protect the common man in India is shown by the terrorist attack in Mumbai.

This past Wednesday, as I was a conference call with my off-shore team in Mumbai, one of them told me that there were additonal attacks in Mumbai, India. At first I was shocked, then I was deeply saddened.

This past week Mumbai experienced another cowardly attack by terrorists. This attack hit home for me even more as one of the sites was where I roam when I’m visiting and it’s only a mile or so from where I live when I’m in Mumbai!

My best friend AK from Bharatbeat wrote and  an absolutely wonderful article about this attack  on our blog. The post describes how the common man’s interests are NOT the priority of the Indian government, and how the government does not seem to protect the the population. Each terrorist attack is a photo opportunity and an opportunity for the corrupt politicians in India to get face time in front of the cameras.

I could go on and on, but I won’t, as none of my rants will change anything in India. Sad but true..

Do you think that anything will change after the latest attacks? You can provide your opions at the BharatBeat FaceBook page or here..

Below are some articles related to the attack from a few days ago.

OCI – Saga Continues

The adventures of one family in getting their Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card!

Update as of October 23th, 2010:

My wife and kids have now gotten their OCI cards.. I am still amongst the non-existent… boo hoo me.. But fireworks and a standing ovation to my wife for her persistence in getting the cards for the kids and herself!

This after my wife made a total of 4 trips to the “land of the inefficient” (LOTI) otherwise known as the Indian Government and their consulate in NYC.

Kudos to Madhu for her patience in pursuing with ferocious diligence to get her OCI card. Now she will have to do the same for me once I get my act to together. No one knows if and when that will happen.

oh yeah, I almost forgot… Prior to her 3rd visit the Government of India sent her application and can you guess what they included with this application? … drum roll please.. The included a complete application of a totally different individual with all her personal information. This was included with her package which was sent to her for some nonsensical validation that was missing.

Next week, I will be visiting the LOTI with my pal as he gets his OCI.. I’m certain everyone will be waiting with bated breath as we traverse LOTI and get his OCI. I’m going to take notes so perhaps, my fortune will be better when I re-apply.

I’ve written about my Overseas  Citizen of  India (OCI) saga for a few months now. Well as everyone knows, I won’t be getting my OCI till I get a copy of my Naturalization Certificate.

My Kids finally got their OCI certification a few weeks ago. My wife, after make a total of 5 trips to the Indian consulate in NYC is still about 5 weeks from getting her OCI certification. Since she got a new passport her process got stretched out, but the overall experience remains the same.

Until she went in person to the Indian consulate, she couldn’t make any progress,.

  • The Indian Consulate is non-responsive to emails and they DO NOT answer the telephones.

Let’s see how much longer it takes for her to get her OCI..

OCI – Overseas Citizen of India follies

Overseas Citizen of India Card and the follies of the Indian embassy in NYC!

11/24/2014

After 4 years of hunting, I’m finally going to proceed to get my OCI card!

Yes fans, I finally found my long lost Naturalization certificate that the Indian Government wanted so desperately to see!

Whopee

8/2/2010: Here’s an update on my OCI situation.. I was of course rejected by the Indian Government in my application for the OCI card,  as I could not provide a Naturalization certificate.

BTW, this will cost me an additional $380 to be paid to the the homeland security team in the US. So my total cost for an OCI in the end will be about $810.

  • $275 (fee) + $175 (surrender certificate) + $380 (Replacement Naturalization certificate).

In addition, the $350 we had to pay to the Indian Government is gone.. with no hopes of getting that back.

My wife and kids are now approved for their OCI which they will get in the next few weeks.

I gotta tell you this whole experience has left me shaking my head in disbelief at the ineptitude of the Indian politicians that want our dollars, but make is to difficult for anyone to get an OCI. For the worlds largest democracy, this whole experience has left a bad taste in my craw..

Oh, I will get my OCI later than sooner, but after this I do hope I never have to deal the process that ties you up in knots when you are trying to do a good thing for both your family and yourself.

6/2/2010:

So today I found out that the Indian Government does have some level of common sense. The famous Mrs. Pushpa Kumar of the Indian Consulate of New York sent me an email saying the Indian government had rescinded the regulation on the requirement of the attestation rule.  Whoo, Whoo, Happy days..

I guess the hundreds and thousands of petitions that were submitted by frustrated people to the Indian government did have an impact. Unfortunately for me, I’m still out the $350 that I had to pay for a piece paper which enforced an regulation that never should have been enforced in the first place. So now they want us to resubmit our applications so they can continue to reconsider our application.  Let’s see how far we get this time when we resubmit our application. ..

Dear Sir/Madam,

A large number of OCI cards received from New Delhi have not been collected by the applicants. Applicants are requested to check the status of their application online: http://ociindia.nic.in/ociindia/OnlineOCIenquiry.jsp and if their documents are at the Consulate, they should arrange collection of their OCI card and ‘U’ visa. Detailed procedure is given at: http://indiacgny.org/php/showContent.php?linkid=177&partid=100&sub=sub6.

The documents required for the purpose are: (i) US passport in original; (ii) a print out of the online status which can be obtained by hooking on to the above mentioned site; (iii) return mailing charges of US$20 (if not already paid) by way of money order/bankers’ check (if the documents are required by mail). The OCI applicants who have valid Indian passports or whose passports have expired but not cancelled may kindly ensure that they also send their Indian passports so that these can be cancelled by the Consulate.

Due to a recent requirement of surrender certificate, some OCI applications were returned to the applicants with a request to furnish the surrender certificate with the application. This requirement has now been withdrawn. If your application was returned, you may wish to resubmit your application. Before sending the application, kindly ensure that it is complete in all respects (details may be seen on our website: www.indiacgny.org) and the application and supporting documents are in duplicate.


With regards,


Consulate General of India, New York

Here’s an update on the worldwide uproar on the strict enforcement of the surrender of Indian Passports as it relates to getting an OCI card;

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/05/28/2010-05-28_india_nationals_irate_over_new_rules_for_visas_and_passports.html

Basically, this new rule makes the people that want to visit India, unable to visit, due to the complex and bureaucratic enforcement of a rule that was never really enforced.. As they say in India.. Welcome!

Over the past month since my return from my vacation, my wife and I have been going through the process of getting our Overseas Citizen Of India Cards (OCI) for our family. Well let me tell you something, if you want to taste frustration in all its glory of dealing with the Indian government and it’s processes, you need to experience this process at least once in your life.

In the past (Only a few months ago!),  I  it was very easy to get the OCI card.  You filled out the necessary paper work, paid the $275 per person and within a few months voila you had the OCI card!

Well someone in the Indian government decided that hey, let’s make this as difficult as possible for ANYONE of Indian descent to get the OCI card. Well they succeeded!

Here’s some of the exasperating scenarios my wife and I faced:

  • After following the myriad of requirements for applying for a family of four, we submitted our application as per the on-line instructions using the completed  downloaded applications. Wow ain’t technology grand.  This was the easiest part (at least I thought so initially).
  • AFTER we submitted our application about a month ago, the Indian Government and it’s agency the Consulate General of India in NYC decided that they wanted to make things difficult and miserable for all applicants of Indian Descent (of course if you were born in the US, youwere spared the misery – at least this is  good news for my U.S. Born children!)
    • Without prior notification on May 7th, the Indian Gov’t changed the rules!
    • Now they wanted in addition to their original paperwork, they wanted US naturalized citizens (of which my wife and I am), to submit a “Surrender of Indian Citizenship Attestation Form” (SICA)which has to be notarized with an additional fee of $175 per person.
    • US Citizens have to submit a “COPY of their Naturalization Certificate“, their Indian Passport and a copy of their respective US Naturalization certificate.
      • For those who don’t know, copying a naturalization certificate is against United States Government and Immigration Rules! This rule is clearly stated on the naturalization certificate.


  • In order to  get our attention, we received  a cryptic email from the consulate general (initially I thought this was a phishing scam), saying you need to fill out the SICA in order for our application to be processed.
  • The email that I got from “Mrs. Pushpa Kumar” is sampled below.

Dear Applicant,

Please refer to your application(s) for the OCI status which has been received in the Consulate recently.

As you are aware, Consulate General of India, New York, receives a very large number of applications for OCI status. In order to deal with the heavy rush of applications in the past few months, we had constituted a task force and put in extra efforts to clear the applications. In fact, all OCI applications, which were received in the Consulate till April 30, 2010 and found to be complete, have been processed.

Meanwhile, the Consulate has received instructions from the Government of India that applicants for all services, including OCI/PIO applications (including those whose applications are under process or whose OCI documents have not yet been delivered) are required to submit a Surrender Certificate for cancellation of the Indian passport and renunciation of the Indian citizenship. Details are posted on our website: www.indiacgny.org. Kindly note that submission of Surrender Certificate is a mandatory requirement and the OCI/PIO applications can not be processed nor can OCI documents be issued without the aforementioned certificate. This is not applicable to the foreign-born children who never held Indian passports. However, their parents held the Indian citizenship in the past and they are advised to obtain the Surrender Certificate for future reference.

Kindly furnish the Surrender Certificate urgently so that further action on your OCI application/OCI documents can be taken by the Consulate.

We regret the inconvenience caused.

Assuring you of our best considerations.

With regards,

Consulate General of India, New York

  • Of course if you call the consulate in NYC or you reply to the cryptic email, you will not have no luck as the consulate does not believe in picking up the phone or replying to emails! The line that really made me snicker was  “Assuring you of our best considerations“.
  • When we originally applied in April, this rule was not in play, so post application we were the lucky recipients of this new ruling by the Indian Government!

We scanned the OCI site and it’s associated FAQ site and both pages contradicted each other on the NEW requirements to get the OCI ! The only consistency was the need for the Surrender certificate!

So we filled out the surrender form, got the bank check for the extra $350 and we figured we were on the right path! Wrong!

My wife Mady went to NYC to the consulate on her day off to expedite the revised process and what she saw there was total chaos.  Lines out the door, nasty information clerk who was yelling at, other people that were in the same boat we were in, and just general arguing and mini fights were breaking out on the huge lines (at least 75 deep), and overall it was just an unbelievable scene. Keep in mind, many of these people came from out of state so they could address this new rule.

If you have ever gone to the Indian Consulate in NYC, you can empathize with what I wrote about above.  Even though you are in NYC, you are on Indian Soil and as the natives say in India:  “This is India”. Basic consideration for customer service does not apply. Clerks can walk away from their station and “disappear” for extended periods, lunch time is lunch time, and of course the courtesy factor or lack therefore of

So Mady was (understandably) frustrated/exhausted/fed-up by mid-afternoon and came home without accomplishing her goal.

So today, Mady went back for the second time in two weeks, to the consulate in NYC  first thing in the morning, hoping to submit our application with our surrender notification.  She went through multiple gyrations, because of my missing naturalization certificate and the fact that the consulate insisted on having an Indian Passport of an Naturalized US citizen.. When we both were naturalized over 20 years ago, we both had surrendered our passport to the US government, as was the rules at that time!

What she told me she saw at the consulate was beyond belief. Crying infants, adults, and just chaos in general.

I have to hand it to Mady for her patience and diligence. She ran around uptown Manhattan trying to notarize mutiple  handwritten notes saying both of us were denouncing our Indian Citizen ship so we can continue the process to get the OCI card!

Her first effort with the hand written notorized note was rejected by the consulate for being “too sloppy”. So she had to rewrite the note and get it re-notorized. This of course meant, she had to go out and get the revised “neat” note notarized.

After spending all day in NYC at the consulate,  Mady was finally able to re-submit our forms for OCI consideration.

I have to give Mady a big thumbs up for being courageous enough to walk through the valley of stupidity that is so rampant in the Indian consulate. Now, I’m not usually this passionate about my views, but for any government agency to have customer facing people so rude and insensitive, there is something really wrong with this picture.

Like I said, it’s a good thing I was not there, otherwise, I’d have been arrested for being the cause of the riot that would have taken place. The level of incompetence is just beyond belief at this consulate. Doesn’t the consul general care about what is going on here?

Of course now the cost for this process has gone up to almost $400 for each of us! I guess, it’s priceless this experience (Similar to the American Express Commercial).

Let’s see what happens over the next few weeks.  If the stars align and our fortunes are lucky, we should not have any additional issues.

Yet, my gut instinct says that as I write this Ms. Pushpa Kumar has some more emails she would like to send to me!