'Passport Seva Kendras in all 543 parl constituencies'
New York: The Indian government plans to open a 'Passport Seva Kendra' in each of the 543 parliamentary constituencies across the country by March next year to ensure convenient passport services to its people, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said here.
The government is trying to ensure that Indian citizens do not face any difficulty in obtaining their passports whether, in India or abroad, he said as he launched the 'Passport Seva' programme at India's Consulate here on Wednesday.
The 'Passport Seva' programme has brought in a massive transformation towards the delivery of passport services in India, Singh said while handing over passports to a few Indian citizens who had used the new programme to renew their passports.
"This project will ensure better services for our citizens abroad. It is a service which is truly meant for citizens," he said at the global launch of the programme here.
The new system will ensure a comfortable and convenient application submission process, usher-in standardisation, digital overhauling, end-to-end status tracking and enhance security, the minister said.
The government plans to have a 'Passport Seva Kendra' in each of the 543 parliamentary constituencies across the country by March 2019 to ensure convenient passport services to its citizens, he said.
"We plan to have a Passport Kendra in each head post office (in India) so that any citizen doesn't have to travel beyond 50-60 km for his or her passport services," Singh said.
The government aims that by March next year, each of the 543 Parliamentary constituencies in the country should have one 'Passport Seva Kendra' for the benefit of the citizens, he said.
The year 2017 registered a 19 per cent growth in passport related services. The monthly submission of applications has crossed one million mark for the first time, and more than six crore passports have been issued through the 'Passport Seva' system, the minister said.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has taken several measures to improve the passport service delivery experience, including by simplifying several passport rules and doing away with cumbersome requirements that delayed the process and led to unnecessary hurdles, he said.
The MEA with the Department of Posts decided to start 'Passport Seva Kendras' in head post offices.
As a result, 236 'Post Office Passport Seva Kendras' (POPSKs) have been operationalised to date, and many more are in the pipeline. This, when added to 36 passport offices and 93 erstwhile 'Passport Seva Kendras', makes a total of 365 passport offices for the public.
The MEA has also initiated the integration of 'Passport Seva Programme' at all Indian Embassies and Consulates across the globe.