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S Jaishankar proposes manufacture, rollout of E-passports on priority basis

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Monday said his ministry has proposed manufacture of e-passports on priority so that the travel document with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future.

Speaking at the seventh Passport Seva Divas, Jaishankar said the ministry has initiated discussions with the 'India Security Press' regarding the project for issuing chip-enabled e-passports to the citizens.

"We propose to pursue the manufacture of e-passports on priority so that a new passport booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future," the minister said.

He said that in line with the commitment made by the government in its previous tenure, the ministry shall continue with the process of opening new Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) in every Lok Sabha Constituency where no seva kendras exist today.

"Both our ministries (MEA and Ministry of Communications) are completing the necessary formalities for the early inauguration of the POPSKs already announced. We would also be announcing more locations for setting-up POPSK after completing the feasibility studies," he said.

"Last five years of passport services delivered by the ministry constituted a passport revolution. The mandate of the MEA is to ensure good governance and a transparent, efficient, timely, effective, reliable, assured and accountable public service delivery system," he said.

Noting that on average, more than one crore passports are issued every year, Jaishankar thanked Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for enabling the opening of 412 POPSKs since January 2017.

"Together with the 93 Passport Seva Kendras which are already functional, this has taken the total number of PSKs in the country to 505 today. The common man of the country now has a Passport Seva Kendra near his or her residence and is not required to travel too far to submit the passport application," he said.

Jaishankar said the partnership between MEA and Department of Posts is a wonderful example of the best practice in citizen-centric governance.

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