indica News Bureau –
To ensure a smoother passport experience for its citizens, the Indian government has announced to open “Passport Seva Kendras” in each of the 543 Parliamentary constituencies across the country by March 2019.
According to Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, the mega project will allow for a faster delivery of passports to the citizens.
“This project will ensure better services for our citizens abroad. It is a service which is truly meant for citizens,” said the minister during the global launch of the program at India’s Consulate here.
Singh was on a US trip to inaugurate “Passport Seva” projects in New York, Washington DC and Atlanta.
“I am happy that Government of India has opened more facilities for obtaining passport by people in India,” Inder Singh, Executive Trustee, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Foundation, told indica.
“We, in the USA, are happy to know that issuance of passport would be speeded up,” said Singh, and welcomed minister Singh’s recently launched the ‘Passport Seva Service’, a new initiative to streamline passport delivery services to Indian citizens living in the United States, at the Indian Consulate in New York.
According to the minister, the project will have an easy and convenient application submission process, standardization, digital overhauling, status tracking and enhance security.
“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 added.
Last year witnessed 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,” informed Singh.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has taken several measures to improve the passport service delivery experience in the recent past.
The MEA took the latest decision to open “Post Office Passport Seva Kendras” (POPSKs) in all constituencies with the Department of Posts.
The MEA has initiated a pilot project at the High Commission of India in London followed by the Consulate General of India in Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Speaking on the occasion, MOS highlighted the efforts of the government in making passport services more accessible and user friendly. In recent years, considerable improvement both in terms of procedure and timelines have been implemented, which has enabled faster delivery of passport services to applicants in India and abroad. MOS pointed out that with the implementation of the Passport Seva Project in the USA, there would be a further improvement and streamlining of the passport services rendered to Indian citizens living abroad.
In addition to inaugurating the Passport Seva Project in Washington DC, Hon’ble MOS had earlier launched the project at the Consulate General of India in New York on 21 November 2018 and would be launching the project at the Consulate General of India in Atlanta on 25 November 2018. Subsequent rollouts will also take place at Indian Consulates in Houston, Chicago and San Francisco.