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QUESTION NO.†2572 SIMPLIFICATION OF PROCESS FOR ISSUANCE OF PASSPORTS

August 09, 2018

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.2572
TO BE ANSWERED ON 09.08.2018

SIMPLIFICATION OF PROCESS FOR ISSUANCE OF PASSPORTS

†2572. HARI NARAYAN RANE:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government has taken any steps to make the process of getting the passport simple and transparent and if so, the details thereof;

(b) whether Government is also making efforts to ensure that the process of issuing passport be made errorless so that no anti-social element could misuse it and if so, the steps taken in this regard;

(c) whether rackets of touts have been exposed who indulged in making passport on wrong addresses during the last three years; and

(d) if so, the details thereof and the action taken against the offenders?

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

(a) 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 Common Service Centres (CSCs) across rural hinterland.

An applicant can now apply for a passport from anywhere in India. But Police verification would be conducted by the Police Station in whose jurisdiction the address mentioned in the form falls and the passport will also be dispatched at the same address.

mPassport Seva mobile app launched on 26.06.2018 enables to apply, pay and schedule appointments for passport services. This App is available in Android and iOS platforms. It also provides passport related information including Passport Kendra locator, applicable fees, mode of submission, and tracking of passport application status on smart phones. Citizens would not require access to only a computer and printer to apply for passport services.

Securing online appointments for submission of passport applications at Passport Kendras 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 more Passport Kendras. At present there are 308 Passport Kendras operating in the country as against 77 in 2014.

The passport rules have also been simplified to make it easier for the citizens to get passports. This is at Annexure-I.PDF file that opens in new window. To know how to open PDF file refer Help section located at bottom of the site.

(b) The process of issuance of passports has been made foolproof under the new system which is capable of leaving no scope for misuse by anti-national elements. Before granting any passport, in-person appearance is mandatory avoiding chances of impersonation. Background check is carried out from the entire Passport database for duplication and criminality status. Capture of Biometric data and photograph on the spot also ensure issuance of the passport to the right person. Police Verification is carried out to check the criminality and citizenship of the applicant. All these measures and precautions available in the system have made the passport issuance process foolproof.

(c) & (d) Very few cases of such fake passports have come to the notice of the Ministry. In one such case, through Writ Petition WP (C) No. 1699/2015 filed as PIL before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs was drawn to the issuance of five passports by the Passport Office in Delhi with non-existent addresses on the basis of incorrect police verification report. The passports were revoked by the Passport Office in Delhi in April 2016 following the due procedure.

The involvement of any racket, however, has not been identified in the recent past.

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