With the implementation of the Passport Seva Project, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), along with its implementation partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has taken assertive steps to deliver passport services to citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner.
Since December 2012, the number of appointment slots has increased from 37,900 to 49,800 per month from December 2012 to July 2013, a rise of 32%. Correspondingly the number of passport applications processed per month has increased from approx. 28,700 to 39,500.
Shri P S Karthigeyan, RPO Bangalore, said, “Till Date, Passport Seva Project in Bangalore has successfully issued 11+ lac passports to the fellow citizens and in July itself more than 40,000 passports were dispatched. Also average time to dispatch passport (other than tatkaal passports) is around 14 days excluding Police verification time.
To make the whole experience citizen friendly, we have also organized several Passport Melas to enhance the accessibility of passports for people and ease the rush of applicants.
Following are the enhanced operational improvements at the PSKs in Bangalore:
Dedicated Pre-Processing counters for the following categories of applicants:
- Differently abled applicants
- Senior Citizens 60 Years & above
- Minors up to 5 years
- Women with Children up to 5 years
Dedicated waiting area for citizens accompanying the applicants with access to drinking water and wash room facilities:
At Lalbagh and Mangalore PSKs waiting area is provided at the Pre-Processing area inside the PSK and at Marathalli and Hubli PSKs waiting area is provided outside the PSK
Public Announcement system, for calling token numbers for the benefit of applicants
For Lalbagh and Hubli PSK, appointments are now being released for 45 and 35days respectively, to cater to the high demand for appointments for these PSKs and for the other 2 PSKs appointments are released for 30 days.
Various categories are allowed as walk-ins to ease out the pressure of appointments. Applicants falling under these categories need to register Online, fill in the online application form and generate Application Reference Number (ARN) at least one day in advance before visiting the PSK. Such applicants may visit the PSK with required set of documents and a copy of printed ARN sheet between 09:30 am to 11:00 am only.
(i)Applicants for issue of Police Clearance Certificates (PCC)
(ii)Differently Abled Applicants
(iii)Deletion of ECR status in passports without any change in personal particulars
(iv)Central Govt. employees, their spouses and dependant minor children who have ‘No Objection Certificate’ / Identity Certificate
(v)Senior Citizens of age 60 years & above.
(vi)Minor Applicants below 15 years of age, provided both parents have valid passports.
(vii)Minor Applicants below 15 years of age, provided both parents have valid passports, and one parent is abroad and has issued Embassy / Consulate certified No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the other parent to apply.
(viii)Minor Applicants below 15 years of age, provided both parents do not have passports, but have given No Objection Certificate (NOC).
For Refuse Token cases, T+3 facility to submit their application without the need for a fresh appointment, within the next 3 working days, provided the refusal are duly approved by the respective ‘Head of PSK’.
Tie-up with Bangalore One and Karnataka One Centres for generating ARN at a nominal charge of Rs.15 and Rs.20 respectively.
Baby-care cabins provided at all the PSKs for the use of Mothers with infants
For ATM Facility within the PSK, we have a tie-up with Union Bank of India, and at present ATM facility is available at Hubli PSK and work is in progress to make the ATM operational at other 3 PSKs of Lalbagh Road, Marathalli, and Mangalore.
Photo-Copier facility at a nominal fee of 1 rupee per copy is provided at all the PSKs
Tie-up with Brewberrys, a leading cafe chain, for providing snack bar facilities inside the PSKs.
Post on-line payment appointments facility with effect from 21st June 2013, the appointments are easily available round the clock, residents of Karnataka, can avail appointments for any of the 4 PSKs under the jurisdiction of RPO Bangalore.
For the 2 PSKs in Bangalore, we observe that applicants prefer to get an appointment for Lalbagh PSK and are ready to wait longer, whereas they can get an appointment at an earlier date at Marathalli PSK
Introduction of ‘Direct to Thana’ Police Verifiction Process, for the 102 Police Stations under the jurisdiction of Commissioner of Police, Bangalore.
During the recent visit of the Honarable Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, on 12th and 13th July 2013, for inspection of the Regional Passport Office Bangalore, the above initiatives were widely appreciated by the committee members.
As part of MEA’s e-Governance initiatives, the Passport Seva Project (PSP) has transformed the passport issuance system across India through an increased network of 77 PSKs. The Ministry is improving governance in Passport Offices by focusing on citizen-centricity, service orientation and transparency.
Other benefits of the Passport Seva Project include:
- Longer working hours to benefit the citizens, PSK appointments available between 9.30am to 4.15pM
- 24*7 Call Center Support in 17 languages
- Complete digitization and processing of application when applicant visits the PSK, reducing the overall time spent and eliminating multiple visits
- Biometric data and photographs taken in highly secure environment
- Granting decision taken in front of the applicant, therefore greater transparency
- Citizens leave the PSK with certainty on the status of their application
- Transparency in the process and online real-time availability of data for ease of monitoring and decision making
Other recent initiatives of Passport Seva Project for citizens are:
Online Payment System to ease appointment availability
Under the new system, applicants are required to make required passport fee payment at the time of booking appointment on the Passport Seva portal http://passportindia.gov.in. Under the new process, payments can be made either by Credit /Debit card (both Master and Visa) or internet Banking of State Bank of India. Applicants can also use the Challan option provided on the website and deposit the money in State Bank of India (SBI) branch after generating Challan online. In such cases, upon the confirmation of payment receipt by SBI in online system, applicants can take appointment. On payment of the fee, the system automatically allots the earliest available appointment slot to the applicant. For the benefit of applicants, once an appointment at PSK is confirmed, it can be rescheduled / cancelled for 2 times, within a year of first appointment date.
Mobile Application ‘mPassport Seva’
An easily downloadable mobile application for smart phone which provides information on passport related services and also enables tracking the status of a passport application has been launched. The application is currently available for the Android Smart Phone but will soon be available for Windows and Apple phones too.
Additional Security Feature in passport booklets
In order to obviate the problems of smudging of photographs and data and to improve the quality, functionality and security of Indian passports, additional security feature has been added in citizen passport booklet i.e. inclusion of applicant’s photograph in the form of a Letter Screen Image (LSI) or Ghost Image with personal data of the passport holder on the data page.
Proposed initiatives of RPO, Bangalore, for the benefit of citizens are:
Release of Additional Appointments
In order to cater to the increasing demand for passport services, efforts are underway to further augment the capacity in the PSKs across the State. Once the arrangements are in place, an additional 30,000 plus appointments per year would be available across the state. This initiative would also result in reduction of the waiting time for those seeking to book appointments for passport services.
In cooperation with the Police Authorities of the State Government, concrete efforts are underway to reduce the average time taken for Police Verification, which in turn would lead to a significant drop in the average time taken to delivery of Passport Services in the state.
Tie up with Bangalore One & Karnataka One for ARN Generation
Renewed efforts are under way to further extend the ARN Generation services through Bangalore One and Karnataka One centers in cooperation with the E-governance Department, Government of Karnataka.