The Ministry of External Affairs under Sushma Swaraj is really making the life of common citizens easier and better. The ministry has announced two major changes that will fast-track the process for first-time passport applicants and make it more convenient to secure an appointment at the local passport seva kendra.
Citizens will be granted a fresh passport under the normal category in a week if their applications are accompanied by three documents – copies of Aadhaar card, electoral photo identity card (EPIC) and PAN card – besides an affidavit in the format of Annexure-I (declaration of citizenship, family details and no criminal record).
Till now, the process would take a month, with the police verification eating up a lot of time. That too if it happens well.
Police verification of such applications will be conducted after the passport is issued. There will be no extra charge for the service, a statement issued by the ministry said. The process is subject to online validation of the Aadhaar number while processing and an approval from the granting officer. If the police verification is found unsatisfactory the passports will be cancelled and impounded. This is what Sushma Swaraj Tweeted about the process.
1. If you submit application with copies of Aadhar, Voter ID and PAN Card with an affidavit of no criminal case, we will issue the Passport.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 25, 2016
In addition to the Aadhar card, electoral card and PAN cards may also be validated, if required, through respective databases in real time, before the application is approved. Besides as mentioned earlier passports may also be impounded and revoked later, in case of adverse police reports.
THE IDEA OF THE PROCESS CHANGE IS TO LIBERALISE THE PROCESS WITHOUT COMPROMISING ON SECURITY, EXPLAINED ANIL KUMAR SOBTI, DIRECTOR OF THE PASSPORT DIVISION IN THE MINISTRY. “THERE ARE PLENTY OF INBUILT SAFEGUARDS IN OUR SYSTEM WHICH CAN INSTANTLY SPOT FAKE IDENTITIES AND FORGERIES. MOST IMPORTANTLY, OUR SYSTEM IS LINKED TO THE AADHAAR DATABASE WHICH HELPS CONDUCT REAL-TIME VERIFICATION OF THE APPLICANT WHILE S/HE IS STILL AT THE PASSPORT SEVA KENDRA,” HE SAID.
“We are trying to integrate EPIC and PAN cards as well. Additionally, the granting officer interviewing the applicant can use his discretion to extend or withhold the facility. Besides, the option of impounding or revoking the passport post issuance is always available and we have exercised it several times in 2015,” Sobti said.
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Hailing the change as an applicant-friendly initiative, Pune’s regional passport officer Atul Gotsurve said, “A smooth rollout of the facility hinges on accurate and complete documentation furnished by the applicant.
“Adverse police reports can be avoided if applicants themselves play a pro-active role in their verification to ensure that it is completed within a month since the passport is issued. We will also institutionalise measures to prevent an increase in such cases.”
We hope this initiative will be good for Indians as it eases the pain a lot