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Friday, 17 August 2012

Now get passport in Two Days Hyderabad

06:15 Posted by vijay pasham , , , No comments
Recent initiatives and technological upgrades have helped improve the overall quality of passport-related services, says Dr Srikar Reddy, Regional Passport Officer, Hyderabad, in an interview .

Could you tell us about the journey of the Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad?

The Hyderabad Passport Office was opened in the year 1976, after bifurcation of the Passport Office in Madras, to serve the people of Andhra Pradesh. The Passport Office was started as a small organisation, and, over the last 36 years, the workload has increased more than 10 times with corresponding increase in staff. We have shifted to our own 60,432-sq ft premises in Secunderabad, which has three floors. It is spacious. Many new initiatives have been launched in a phased manner to ensure quick and quality service.

Today, it has grown into India’s second biggest office, next to Mumbai office. In view of the unprecedented demand for issue of new passports and other miscellaneous services, the Ministry of External Affairs opened a separate passport office in Andhra Pradesh on 17th January 1997 at Vishakhapatnam for catering to the needs of the five coastal districts i.e. Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vishakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts.

Passport-related services are being offered at our newly opened Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs). Applicants need to submit online the application form, book an appointment, and visit the nearest PSK among the six located at Vijayawada, Nizamabad, Tirupati and at Hyderabad – Begumpet,Ameerpet and Tolichowki.

What are the other new initiatives for speedy and qualitative and quantitative service to applicants?

The e-seva centres in AP have agreed to fill online applications for applicants at a minimum cost of Rs 100. The e-seva centres will also guide applicants with regard to documents. Getting a passport will be an easy process with the implementation of new facilities like biometric verification and the setting up of three call centres at the national level. One can know the status of application through SMS. Not only that, a round-the-clock call centre at national level will answer users’ queries in any of 17 languages. Now post offices are coming forward to extend passport services.

On 1st August 2012, we launched a scheme under which certain categories of applicants can avail of walk- in services at our PSKs. These applicants can register their applications online (www.passportindia.gov.in) and obtain individual Application Reference Number (ARN) and visit any of the six PSKs. No prior appointment is required.

How many passports have been issued since you took charge? How about the miscellaneous services rendered, compared to the past few years?

I took charge in July 2011. Since then, we have received 4.58 lakh applications and we issued 5.39 lakh passports. We rendered 44,200 miscellaneous services by working extra hours, including on Saturdays, and therefore could clear about 81,000 pending applications. It is terrific efforts put in by just 150-odd staff of the Passport Office, despite the unprecedented rise in demand for passports.

In 2009, we received 3.43 lakh applications, of which 3.09 lakh passport services were provided. In 2010, we received 4.54 lakh applications, of which 3.77 lakhs passport services were provided. In 2011 we received 4.75 lakh applications, of which 4.92 lakh passport services were provided. The significant increase in the delivery of passport services in 2012 up to the July is due to the technological upgrades and TCS has been assisting the department.

The department gets police enquiry details online. As many as 2,500 passports a day will be issued to applicants through six PSKs under the Passport Office in Hyderabad. The new initiative is helping us in preventing the involvement of private agents. Though there are some teething problems, things are stabilising with improvement in the quality and quantity of work.

What is message to the applicants and the general public?

The results are good year after year and all the pending cases of 2010 and 2011 in the old legacy system have been closed and closure advises are being dispatched. Gratis passport will be issued with regard to cases where the date of application is after 1st July 2011. Tatkal Passports are now being issued in 2 days’ time. Re-issue of passports, passports of minors is taking around 5 days’ time where police verification is not necessary.

Numerous appreciations are pouring in from applicants of various categories by emails and thanking letters, conveying their happiness and satisfaction at the speedy, qualitative and quantitative services rendered by us. We deliver passport services to citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce.”

Why do we have so many complaints about abnormal delay in the issue of passports and in regard to other related services?

There may be specific genuine reasons in regard to insufficient documentation, delay in police verification, technical flaws noticed while processing the applications or some such thing. Sometimes, when a clarification is sought from applicants, they do not respond quickly with evidence.


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