Sunday, February 26, 2012

MEA eases issuance of Passports sans Touts

A few days back I went through the new procedure at the Regional Passport Office Chandigah, in order to renew my passport. I just could not believe that with the introduction of TCS in the loop things are working so smoothly.
I had to ask a few times IS THIS REALLY AN INDIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICE and met the Assistant Passport Officer and complimented her!
However, at two counters one had to interact with Government employees, luckily briefly and the difference was marked!
Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)

Passport - new procedures
The front-end operations of all Regional Passport office have been outsourced as part of the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) project and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is all set to handle the front-end operations of all RPO very shortly. Union Ministry of External Affairs has already implemented the PSK project some of the passport offices in India. These centres have been set up on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as its service provider. The project has been designed as a citizen-centric and paperless service. All one needs to do is upload a passport application on and confirm an appointment online. After which the support staff from TCS will guide the applicant through the biometric process. Walk-in applicants will be greeted by a floor manager who will help the applicants upload applications through a kiosk at the PSK. "The amenities and services at the PSK are in keeping with any modern bank or airport.

The implementation of the project has reached its halfway mark and will likely to completed by March 2012, The existing passport office will be responsible for liaison with the MEA, dispatching, printing, answering RTIs, and management of the PSKs. First time applicants no longer need to go the existing passport office.

According to the available information, TCS would receive applicants, guide them and handle the process for submission of applications, conduct the verification of the completeness of the application form and the documents attached therein. TCS would be in charge of receiving applications and guiding applicants, technical support and maintenance of the premises, while sensitive areas would continue to be handled by the passport office staff. The PSK initiative would bring in the much-required concept of “one-day visit to the passport office”, as the officials would tell the applicants the same evening as to whether their passport application forms and the supporting documents were in order and whether the passport would be issued or not. This would eliminate the anxious wait by the applicants.

Under the new system, photographs need not be affixed, image of the applicant's face will be captured at the time of applying online as is done in the driving licence process. In addition, the new system will involve taking the finger print (bio-metric) of the applicant and incorporating it in the database. Only if the finger print tallies, the applicant will be able to apply for other services such as spouse entry, address change or renewal of passport.

The added feature is that every police district will have access to the passport server for downloading the personal particular form online and to send the police verification reports online. This will obviate postal delay and laborious paper work. This will also ensure speedy completion of procedures which are time-consuming at present. Even passport issuance will be modernized with digital signature.

The place for these front-end operations has been already finalized for most of locations and started functioning. The new system will put in place a first-in and first-out concept, eliminating the practice of issuing passports out-of-turn. Under the new system getting passport will not take more than 72 hours. This turnaround time is from the moment of police verification to the issuance of the passport.Procedures for applying Passports under new system (where ever the new PSK system is implemented)For filling and submitting your application online, you need to be a registered user on the Passport Seva website.
Visit: Passport Seva Portal: Consular passport and Visa Division


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