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The great Indian passport farce

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 My sister visited Passport Service Kendra in Devarabeesanahalli on the 25th for the reissue of passport of her minor child. Needed to travel for a family emergency so she checked the option for tatkal.

First WTF moment. The officer checking the application scratches out her tatkal mark and ticks normal, reason given, another inspecting officer will make the determination after hearing your case and not you.  

Second WTF moment. She waits patiently for the interview where the officer says oh you marked normal on your application so you wont get tatkal. He didnt accept the argument that his own officer, who was nowhere to be seen at that time, had changed it. As a solace she is told the passport will arrive in 3 days flat.

So all arrangements to handle the family emergency and postponement of  tickets on penalty is arranged. Now comes the whammy its 2nd june and no trace of the passport. Status as of 2nd June is

"Passport will be dispatched within 3 working days excluding the date of submission."

A web query to check the status met with the following response

"Dear XYZ, 
Greetings! 
The request having reference ID 102010009445, has been resolved successfully.
Please note that the description provided by you is: Wants to know the status BN2071268718410 (01/07/2005) of her child
Please find enclosed response in this regard as follows:
Info. given
Hope we have been able to address your concern with satisfaction."

Info given? Where? Is this the way one responds to a query?

The toll free number predictably parrots out the 3 day lie. The PSK number is never available. So she goes personally to the PSK and is told to go to RPO at Koramangala where the line to get a token for enquiry is a mile long and the actual enquiry line 2 miles long. Once her turn at the token counter came. "Out of tokens madam, come tomorrow"???  So the whole day wasted for nothing.

Frantic calls to agents to help understand what is going on reveals some startling facts. The 3 day promise is a farce. It is a white lie being perpetrated on millions of gullible citizens by their own government by thoroughly incompetent officers in the passport department. It never arrives until 10 & 15 days have passed. In fact most people I have talked to have had this bad experience and worry no citizen takes this up and shows the workers up for the lie that they perpetrate. I have been told that there is a major malaise in the workings of the agency. I am sad that SM Krishna may have retired on the job while his department perpetrates fraud among their own citizens

If this personal medical situation in the far away land becomes a tragedy I will hold the MEA responsible for first arbitrarily assigning priority to my sisters passport request and then providing false information on ETA.  A PIL is due, I am collecting info on many people who have suffered at the passport office hands through agents etc. If you have a story to tell plese do post here.

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idontspam's picture

Indian bureaucracy worst in Asia

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 As if to rub it in... this survey clearly states Indian bureaucracy is the worst in Asia.

Writing about India, PERC said, "politicians frequently promise to reform and revitalise the Indian bureaucracy, but they have been ineffective in doing so--mainly because the civil service is a power centre in its own right".

The consultancy noted that dealing with India's bureaucracy "can be one of the most frustrating experiences for any Indian, let alone a foreign investor".

 

ssheragu's picture

passport

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ssheragu

actually I have  a different story to tell;

I went on the first day the Devarasibanahalli started functioning, even before there was formal innaguration by SM Krishna

since many did not know the new address or the rendering of passport services by PSK's, there was not at all a queue on the first day

I applied for my passport under tatkal

I got my passport in three days flat; i. e. I applied for my passport actually a re-issue on May 24 and I got it on May 26

But today when I went to the PSK in Devarasibanahalli for some other reason, there was a big queue

 The main grouse or complaint that I have agianst the PSK Is lack of parking space

I hope that PSK's will deliver passports and render passport services quickly

Many thanks

Srinath Heragu

idontspam's picture

 I applied for my passport

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 I applied for my passport under tatkal

Incidentally, on may 24th after waiting for 30 minutes at the RPO in Koramangala she was handpicked along with a few "locals" and ferried in a shuttle to PSK2 (devarabeesanahalli). She was told under tatkal the passport will be given in ONE day not 3 but sent back with a different set of forms to fill out. This misinformation and the change of tatkal status by the officer shows arbitrary and uninformed actions being carried out at ones discretion. 

After writing this post I received a call from a travel bureau whom I had contacted mentioning this is the case with many people who have approached him. There is an air of arbitrariness in the actions of the officers of the passport offices. A simple thing like enquiry has become a bureaucratic hurdle. I have asked for contact details of these people from the agent so I can establish a case.

idontspam's picture

They have let everyone down

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They (TCS) have let everyone down, including themselves. On an average, under the earlier system, the Passport Office at Koramangala could easily process 300 applications a day. That figure has now come down to 160

TCS may get the boot for passport glitches

Public Agenda's picture

They are likely to get the boot

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 I got my reissue passport work done on 1st May (National Holiday) at the RPO after getting online token etc no crowd at all

Well if it is any consolation the TCS is getting the boot as we all know after numerous delays and farce of extending timedeadlines. The software glitch is what got the goat

TCS may get the boot for passport glitches


idontspam's picture

The real slim shadys

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...Instead of supporting and allowing the pilot to mature, some elements are being unfriendly

Some MEA (ministry of external affairs) staff attend work wearing black badges, to show their protest against involving a private, third party company (TCS) in record processing and passport issuance, a job which was solely done by the government till now. The lack of cooperation is clear and loud on the ground, at the Passport Seva Kendra on Lalbagh Road and Regional Passport Office in Bangalore.

Source

spry's picture

Excellent service!

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I am now big fan of this service. I had very bitter experience of renewing passport of my wife with old system and i had to shell out Rs 5K for this work to get it renewed in tatkal scheme.  Needless to say that getting passport without bribe was an uphill task and its no surprise that MEA officials are opposing this excellent new system. Any system which eliminate corruption should be welcome even if it means  inconvenience in its usage.

@idontspam, i had similar experience with the new system. The CSE team did not mark tatkal on my application. They told me that GO (Granting officer) needs to approve it. I were told that it is the process defined by MEA so they can not change it. After CSE, my files digitally moved to VO (verification officer) and I didnt have to pay any bribe for my file to move to next desk ;-). Once VO verified the document, it went to GO (Granting officer). He listened to my urgency and approved the tatkal by entering comment in the digital application. It came back to CSE to make the change for tatkal application. After that it follwed the same steps. It went to VO and then GO. Everything was done in 3-4 hours and I got my passport in 3 days. The process is to get the tatkal passport in 1day but I were told that MEA officials are trying their best to kill this excellent system for their (including travel agents) vested interest. I am sure these are intials hitches and onces the process are streamlined, it will be best e-governance system to be proud of. The best part is, it is free of corruption.


rs's picture

Problems with the PSK - worse than the old system

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Today I made an attempt to submit my passport form and failed. The reason was the following. From the software, it seems to be impossible to make an appointment as whatever dates I tried it said all slots were full. It seems to be impossible to find out when the next slot is. So, since, on the website, it says that one can go there and get a walk in appointment I did that - it involved travelling 20 km for me. When I got there I was told that all the tokens were gone for the day. I c

 I came back and tried to schedule an appointment online. First, it is almost impossible to guess when the next appointment is at any centre. It is a hit and miss. Finally, I found that there were some slots in the Lalbaug centre on certain days and times. When I clicked on the blue time slot   it said - All slots are filled for this time. I called up the call centre. The agent  was nice but took a long time to understand that I was competent enough to follow the correct procedure and kept insisting that there are two ways of doing this - one walk in and a second, making an appointment online.
 
Finally, when I asked him to try and book an appointment on a particular date and time he tried and finally admitted that there was some problem with the software. This happened this afternoon and when I tried this evening I had the same problem.

The system is terrible as it stands for the following reasons. As of now, for example I have no idea when and how to get my passport simply because unless I go at 4 am in the morning to one of the centres, wait till they open and get a token I have no way of submitting my form.
The software is completely flawed and needs to be fixed, perhaps  in the following ways --

1. When the form is submitted an appointment should be given after choice of centre. ONLY if an applicant is unhappy with the appointment time should he or she be made to reschedule one.

2. In that case, the software should inform one when the next available appointment is - otherwise it is a hit or miss.

3. If a person makes a trip to a PSK and cannot get a token for that day he should be allowed to schedule an appointment for some future date then and there. At least in that manner the trip is not a waste.

4. One should be able to schedule an appointment over the phone.

5. The token system is easily going to give rise to corruption. People will hog tokens and sell them.

6. If a person misses his appointment without a good reason he should not be allowed to make one for another month but instead have to wait and walk in.
 

Nevertheless, my problem remains. I am not able to schedule an  online appointment and in fact, as a result of this have absolutely no idea how to now apply for a passport unless I go to the PSK at 4 am and wait till the counter opens, and may have to hang around there all day till the time of my walk in appointment comes.

It seems to me that this is MUCH WORSE than the old system. In the old system, I went to Bangalore One, submitted my passport and then waited for about 3 weeks after which it came. Now, while I am assured it will come three days after I submit my papers, I cannot submit my papers at all.....and infinity + three is still infinitly !
 

 

Of course I sent an email to the PSK helpdesk - it has to be seen whether this has any effect.

Ramesh

 

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