New Delhi, May 27 (ANI): Passport services in the country are going in for a revolution, with the government ensuring that it should not remain a cumbersome exercise for public anymore.
The Ministry of External Affairs has said that it will ensure that passports under the E-passport scheme be issued under Tatkal service within three days, a week's time for the re-issue of passports and the handling over of a new passport within 21 days.
A. Manickam, Joint Secretary (CPV) in the External Affairs Ministry told ANI that: "Now, the time taken in police verification will cut, as the passport office targets three days for Tatkal, a week for re-issue and 21 days for the new passport."
As per the new system, it will take about 45 minutes to submit an online application for passports.
Previously, it used to take 45 days for the same.
Acoording to Mr. Manickam, there will be 91 passport offices spread across big towns of the country.
The government is undertaking the new initiative, as the demand for passports has nearly doubled, Manickam said.
"The number of application forms received in 37 offices has nearly doubled and the growth is much more and the new process of the Passport Seva Kendra is to cope up with demand," he added.
He further informed that the government has also decided to increase working hours of its passport offices from four to seven hours. Offices will remain open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..
On Friday, as a part of the passport seva project, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will be inaugurating four Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in Karnataka at the regional passport office in Koramangala in Bangalore.
By the end of current fiscal about 77 PSKs would be operational in the country.
Sources said that around 50 million passports are in circulation at the moment and the application of people for passport was around 25 lakh in 2003 and around 60 lakh in 2009.
The new e-passport system will keep up with the pace of the rising demand of passports.
Ministry sources said the new system will transform the way passports requests are processed and issued in India.
The contract for implementing the Rs 1,000 crore project was given to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in October 2008.
It is based on a public-private partnership model and aims to provide passport-related services to citizens in a speedy, convenient and transparent manner.
Under the new system, soon after an application is submitted, the verification list will be forwarded to the district police chief.
The same day, it will be segregated station wise and will be forwarded to the respective police stations. By Sandhya Sharma (ANI)