The British Deputy High Commission here would undertake a pilot study in the primary health sector in Tamil Nadu, jointly with the state government, a senior diplomat said in Chennai on Wednesday.

“We are about to start a pilot study with Ernst & Young in Tamil Nadu to work in the field of primary health,” British Deputy High Commissioner Bharat Joshi said.

Britain is engaging in talks with the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments to improve healthcare in these states as part of its plans to partner India in improving the health care of the country, he said.

Britain is looking at improving healthcare in these states and is looking at the possibility of having a zone or area, in which they could improve the healthcare, using British expertise, he said.

“As for Kerala, we are going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between a U.K. university and the state government. It might take a while,” Mr. Joshi added.

Earlier, Mr. Joshi inaugurated the new office of U.K. Visa Application Centre.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Joshi said there was a 20 per cent increase in the total number of visa applicants in 2013 compared to earlier years.

To a query, he said student visa applications to the U.K. had witnessed a 20 per cent slump last year, for which he attributed the falling value of Indian Rupee and amendments in the Britain legislature pertaining to educational institutions in the UK.