Passport Seva Project will simplify procedures: Mukherjee

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Amritsar, Jun 28 (UNI) The Ministry of External Affairs has initiated the Passport Seva Project for introducing better and latest IT solutions, further simplifying the procedures and reducing paper work to the barest minimum, with a view to maximising the comfort levels of passport applicants and achieving the best international standards.

The project is expected to be implemented in a time-frame of 19 months and will result in passports being issued within three days and in cases which require police verification, within three days after the completion of the verification process, External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said while addressing a public function after inaugurating the Regional Passport Office (RPO) here today.

Mr Mukherjee said 'tatkal' passports will be issued on the day of submission of the application. The Passport Seva Project envisages opening of 68 Passport Facilitation Centres all over India, where the non-sovereign functions involved in the passport issuance process will be performed by a service provider to be selected through an open bidding process, he added.

Police verification will be expedited through electronic linkage of the Passport Facilitation Centres with the police authorities in state capitals, he added. This centre would also start issuing e-passports, also known as biometric passports, in the diplomatic category, he added.

The Minister announced that issuing of e-passports in the official passport category will also commence soon. The Ministry of External Affairs has drawn up a programme for the full roll out of e-passports in the ordinary passport category by September next year.

'' The e-passports will be much safer against forgeries and will facilitate their movement through the border points equipped with e-passport reading facilities'', he said, while pointing out that with the launch of e-passports in New Delhi on June 25, India has become the first major developing country to issue such passports.

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