Thursday, June 30, 2011

SF India Consulate hosts Honorable Janardhana Swamy, MP, in Silicon Valley.

L to R: Susmita Thomas, Janardhana Swamy, Ashok Sinha
Yesterday, June 29, the San Francisco Indian Consulate arranged a reception for Hon. Janardhana Swamy, MP, who is currently visiting Silicon Valley after a week-long series of diplomatic meetings in Washington, DC. Mr. Swamy is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs of the Lok Sabha. Ms. Susmita Thomas, Consul General, and Mr. Ashok Sinha, Consul (Community Affairs), were the chief felicitators.

This event was an invitational-only event and the stated purpose of the community meeting was for Janardhana Swamy to get a better pulse of how the consulate is serving the public in this area. The San Francisco consulate serves 15 US states from Alaska to Wyoming.

This blog post is to capture my personal impressions of the event. Some media personnel were present at the event and you will probably see some reporting as well.

After a brief introduction by Mr. Ashok Sinha, Mr. Janardhana Swamy spoke briefly, after which a Q & A session followed. While, in general, everyone felt that the San Francisco consulate has been getting increasingly better in serving the public, the following were some of the issues/idea aired:
  1. Can the San Francisco office be made more presentable? Can it provide for a dozen or so of parking spaces, at least for the purposes of the elderly?
  2. Can the SF consulate have a satellite office in the South Bay?
  3. Can the consulate facilitate Indian citizen NRIs to vote in subsequent elections?
  4. Can and consular office web sites be integrated to give a more official look by considering US State Department's Travel web site as an example?
Although this was not particularly expressed during the meeting, I subsequently feel that the web site improvement ought also to consider integrating social media as well.

Mr. Swamy attempt to mingle with the NRI constituency is very laudable.

Attendees dispersed after a dinner. There is another community meeting scheduled at 6:00pm today, June 30,  at the Milpitas Library - Multipurpose Room,160 North Main Street, Milpitas, CA 95035.

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