Simplifying Issuance of Passports : Lok Sabha QA
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.472
TO BE ANSWERED ON 05.02.2020
SIMPLIFYING ISSUANCE OF PASSPORTS
472. SHRI ARUN SAO:
Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:
(a) whether the Government has formulated any plan to simplify the procedure of issuing passports and establishing new passport offices;
(b) if so, the details thereof;
(c) whether the Ministry has given any directive to open ‘Passport Seva Kendras’ in head post office of the districts;
(d) if so, the State-wise and district-wise details of ‘Passport Seva Kendras’ established in the country including Chhattisgarh so far; and
(e) the other steps being taken by the Government to improve existing procedure of issuing passports which is time consuming and complicated?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN]
(a) & (b) Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) are being set up in association with the Department of Posts in order to bring passport services closer to people residing in villages/remote/rural areas of the country. The POPSK are functioning like the other existing 93 Passport Seva Kendras (PSK). The process of is¬suing passports has not changed after the opening of the POPSK. Applicants, who apply for their passports online through the passport portal, can schedule an appointment and then visit the designated POPSK to complete the formalities, similar to those at the PSK, prior to the issue of the passport. The photographs, bio¬metrics and the supporting documents would be electronically captured at the POPSK prior to the issue of the Passport.
(c) Before 2014, 77 Passport Seva Kendras were operational in the country. Af¬ter 2014, 16 new Passport Seva Kendras were established by this Government. Thereafter, in the year 2017, a decision was taken in co-operation with the Department of Posts to open ‘Post Office Passport Seva Kendras’ (POPSK), under which as on 30 January, 2020, 424 POPSK have been established.
(d) The details of the 517 Passport Seva Kendras established in the country, including in Chhattisgarh, is enclosed at Annexure I.
(e) 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.
The mPassport Seva mobile app enables to apply, pay and schedule appointments for passport services. It also provides passport related information including location of Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs), applicable fees, mode of submission, and tracking of passport application status on smart phones. Citizens would not require access to a computer and printer to apply for passport services.
Securing online appointment for submission of passport applications at PSK/ 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.
In order to streamline, liberalize and ease the process of issue of passport, the Ministry has taken a number of steps to simplify passport policy which is expected to benefit the citizens of India in applying for and getting a passport. This is at Annexure-II.