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In India, Getting a passport set to become easier and quicker


New Delhi, Sep. 09, 2007
Ram Rai

Getting a new passport will be a lot more easier and quicker with the comprehensive overhaul of the passport issuance system involving a four fold increase in the number of application centres from the present 350.

In the next 19 months, 68 new passport facilitation centres will come up in various parts of the country and applicant can get the passport within three days of police verification.

"The Passport Seva project will result in delivery of passport-related services to the citizens in a time-bound, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner," a senior external ministry official said.

Under the project, government will outsource front-end activities to service providers who will set up facilitation centres across the country.

Re-issuing a passport, getting a duplicate passport or an additional booklet or change in name would be done within three working days, while change in name or address would be done on the same day of filing of application.

However, these services will come at a cost and the service providers will be allowed to levy an additional fee over and above the government fee for each service they provide.

Besides, the working conditions in the existing passport offices, which would be used as back offices, would be improved at a cost of Rs 8 crore.

Passport centres across the country will also be upgraded using information technology and bringing in uniform procedures in the passport issuance system, the official said.

Passport offices will also be linked with the police to improve monitoring and reduce delays in police verification.

"We will be in constant touch with the police to speed up the police verification process," the official said, adding government has also decided to outsource dispatch of passports to India Post.

A project management unit will be established to ensure implementation of the project.

A total 41 lakh passports were issued in 2006, while the number was 37.5 lakh the previous year.