Citizens can now get a new passport within three days of police verification, or on the same day under "tatkal" scheme, as the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday signed an agreement with Tata Consultancy Services.
Under the project, applicants will get new passports within three days of police verification while under the tatkal scheme the travel document will be made available to the applicant on the same day.
TCS, which bagged the Rs 1,000 crore e-governance project, will open 77 new fully computerised Passport Seva Kendras across the country by January 2010.
The Government aims to nearly quadruple the number of passport counters to 1,250 from the current 345 and bring the entire process of issuing the travel document online. It also wants to cut down the waiting time to 45 minutes for an applicant.
Bangalore and Chandigarh will be the first cities to get the new Passport Seva Kendras by June 2009 which will be functional on a pilot basis.
The Government has outsourced support functions like improving citizen interface, managing technology and call centres training to TCS.
The Central Passport Organisation issued over 50 lakh passports last year and the number is likely to double in the next three years.
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A most exciting development, indeed.
Now, when something as critical as issual of passport, particularly in today's terrorism-threatened world, can be outsourced, why not the preparation and maintenance of voters' list, as also issual of voter ID cards? Today's inaccuracy levels of the order of over 50% across the country (as admitted by the EC itself), is causing serious subversion of the democratic process even at the very first stage itself, apart from posing a serious threat to national security. Correction of this anomalous situation has to be the first priority of the country if it wants to call itself a democracy. For more, click on: