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QUESTION NO.3124 EASE OF OBTAINING PASSPORT

March 14, 2018

LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.3124
TO BE ANSWERED ON 14.03.2018




†3124. SHRI RAMDAS C. TADAS:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the Government is endeavouring to provide passports more easily after easing the passport issueing process;

(b) if so, the details of manner in which the process has been eased;

(c) the number of passport centres running in the country presently and the number of such centres approved for opening; and

(d) the number of passport centres operational and proposed to be opened in District Headquarters of the country including Rajasthan and Maharashtra?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[GEN. (DR) V. K. SINGH (RETD)]


(a) & (b) Yes. The Ministry has eased the passport issuing process and has made it an online procedure including getting appointments for submission of documents for passports. Effective technical infrastructure is in place to ensure that the Passport Seva system is available for access at all times from any location. The Passport Portal (www.passportindia.gov.in) is accessible to anyone, anywhere and anytime. With a view to address the challenge of digital divide, especially in the rural hinterland, the Ministry in association with CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd. (which is promoted by the Department of Electronics and IT), has facilitated online filing of passport applications, through the vast network of about 2.7 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) across rural hinterland.

Securing online appointments for submission of passport applications at Passport Seva Kendra (PSK)/ Post Office at Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) has been simplified. The current provision is allowing applicants to choose any appointment date from the earliest five available dates (working days) for scheduling/ rescheduling an appointment for passport related services. Earlier, the System used to offer only one available date to the applicant for seeking appointment for passport related services.

The Ministry has expanded the outreach by opening PSK and POPSK as given in (c) and (d) below.

The passport rules have also been simplified to make it easier for the citizens to get passports. This is at Annexure-I.

Under the Passport Seva Project, a robust information system has been created to offer a bouquet of online passport services as follows:

(i) Comprehensive information relating to passport application procedure, requirement of supporting documents, applicable fees, location of Passport Offices, Passport Seva Kendras (PSK), Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK), police station jurisdiction, etc. is posted on the Portal to make it user-friendly. It is kept updated with Advisories/Notices and Press Releases relating to Passport services developments. Status of applications can be tracked through the Passport Portal.

(ii) An e-mail based helpdesk facility and a 24x7 National Call Centre has been set up to provide requisite information to citizens.

(iii) The Passport Seva system sends four free of cost SMS to applicants - (i) at the time of dispatch of passport, (ii) in ‘returned undelivered’ passport cases, (iii) rejection of request for counter delivery cases and (iv) clear Police Verification (PV) report in pre-PV PCC cases or review of PV and clearance by the Passport Issuing Authority (PIA). In addition, a premium optional SMS Service, on nominal payment basis, has been made available to enable citizens to receive alerts and updates regarding detailed progress of their passport applications and pending actions. The service can be availed from any mobile phone.

(iv) mPassport Seva mobile app provides passport related information including PSK and POPSK locator, applicable fees, mode of submission and tracking of passport application status on smart phones.

(v) For assistance, citizens can call toll-free helpline number 1800-258-1800.

(vi) The Passport system has interface with the police for verification of personal particulars of applicants and with the India Post for tracking delivery of passports.

The online system and establishment of PSK/POPSK have facilitated better accountability, transparency and streamlining of passport service delivery. This has also helped in issuing error-free and more secure passports. The time taken in issuing passports has progressively decreased since the introduction of online application system, opening of PSK and POPSK and simplification of rules. The Passport Seva Project has won several awards and is seen as a model of people centric service, innovation and Public Private Partnership.

(c) & (d) At present, 93 Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) are operating across the country as extended arms of the 37 Passport Offices, thus providing extended reach to passport applicants. The list is at Annexure-II.

The Ministry in association with the Department of Posts has decided to open 251 Passport Seva Kendras at the Head Post Offices (HPO)/ Post Offices (PO) in the country including in Rajasthan & Maharashtra called ‘Post Office Passport Seva Kendra’ (POPSK). The list of these 251 POPSK is at Annexure-III. 162 POPSK are functional as on 8 March, 2018 Annexure-IV. The Ministry intends to complete the requisite formalities for the operationalization of the remaining POPSK by 31st March, 2018.

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