Commodity trends

Soybean

Soybean meal exports during January 2013 stood at 620,133 tonnes against 484,195...
Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
Is aspirin really safe?

Recent research has thrown new light on the widely used medicine

“A lie can travel half...

Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
Pune Passport Grievance Forum files complaint with CIC; demands transparency from TCS and MEA

Proving the point that the ministry of external affairs has outsourced passport work to TCS and has given authorization, permission as well as 100% funds for the work, TCS is a public authority under the RTI Act. A complaint has been filed with the Central Information Commission, Delhi by the Pune Passport Grievance Forum

The Pune Passport Grievance Forum (PPGF) which continues to receive several complaints everyday regarding non-issuance of passports to eligible applicants and has been trying to resolve problems through interaction with TCS and MEA officials, is now gearing up for the next step of taking the campaign forward.

 

On 11th March, at 9.30am, the PPGF will hold an agitation at the TCS’s Passport Seva Kendra office in Mundhwa, Pune. It will also hold an on-the-spot citizen meeting there. Complaint forms will be made available for affected passport applicants. The PPGF will demand streamlining of the passport issuance system; making a friendly and easily accessible online appointment system; putting up of boards at the entrance to list the exact nature of documents required for normal and tatkal passports so as to avoid unnecessary harassment to citizens and; demand ousting of passport agents who are given easy entry into the Passport Seva Kendra whereas citizens can enter, strictly by appointment. A deadline of 15 days would be given to TCS as well as MEA’s Passport Office at Senapati Bapat Road to rectify the above faults.

 

The PPGF will also demand from TCS to put the Master Service Agreement between the company and MEA in the public domain. TCS has put up the Master Service Agreement in the public domain for its venture with an American firm, AC Nielsen (US) Inc. If it can do it in the case of a multi-national company why not in the case of Indian government’s Public Private Partnership venture. Master Services Agreement, by and between Tata America International Corporation & Tata Consultancy Services Limited and ACNielsen (US), Inc. Effective as of October 1, 2007.

 

Meanwhile, Vijay Kumbhar, one of the conveners of the PPGF has filed a complaint with the Central Information Commission, demanding transparency from TCS, which is a public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act as the Government of India has given authorization, permission as well as 100% funds for the work in the public private partnership (PPP) venture.

 

Kumbhar, in his complaint has made the following arguments, which makes it mandatory for TCS to disseminate information under the RTI Act:
 

“1) As a public authority named ministry of external affairs of India (MEA) performs passport related work as per the Passport Act, through its division consular, passport and visa (CPV);

2) As MEA has outsourced above work and has given authorisation as well as permission to Tata consultancy services (TCS) for the same;

3) As MEA gives 100% funds for above work, mode of funding is built, operate, transfer;

4) As per RTI Act 2005 “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted—

by notification issued or order made by the appropriate government, and includes any body owned, controlled or substantially financed;

5) As per above provision TCS is a public authority;

6) As MEA has entered in to master agreement with TCS and such an agrreement is called authorisation or permission;

7) As per section 2 (i) ‘record’ includes—

(a) any document, manuscript and file;

(b) any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;

(c) any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not);

(d) any other material produced by a computer or any other device;

8) As per Section 4 (1) (b) (v) of the RTI Act, it is duty of the public authority to publish the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;

9) As per Section 4 (1) (b) (xiii ) of the RTI Act, it is duty of the public authority to publish particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it;

10) As per Section 4 (c) a public authority has to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public;

11) As per Section 4 (d) a public authority has to provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons;

12) As information covered in point no 7, 8, 9 and 10 is always available in permits authorisations called agreement or work order,

13) As lot of other information is available on websites of MEA and TCS;

14) As none of the above authorities have sou motu disseminated above mentioned agreement between MEA and TCS;

15) As, I personally along with Ms Vandana Chavan , MP (Rajya Sabha) , Vinita Deshmukh and Sandeep Khardekar from Pune, went to Regional Passport Office, Pune and requested for above agreement, but it was not available with them;

16) As, I am the person, who has been denied access to records under this Act,

I am filing this complaint u/s 18 (1) (f) of the RTI Act, I request you to initiate an inquiry u/s 18 (2) of RTI act and compel both the public authorities to disseminate the said agreement and all other transactions between them and publish it on their websites.”

 

To a question about the role of the TCS in the passport project posed by MP Laxmant Naik in the Rajya Sabha in August 2012, E Ahmed, minister of state in ministry of external affairs had replied, “As per the agreement, it is the duty of TCS to ensure ‘Under the contractual obligations, the role and responsibilities of service provider include provision/ setting up of

  1. all hardware, software, networking & personal computers of the entire Passport system,
  2. physical infrastructure for all PSKs as determined by the ministry in terms of RFP, including interiors thereof,
  3. Data Centre (DC), Disaster Recovery Centre (DRC) and Central Passport Printing Facility(CPPF),
  4. maintenance and operations of all the aforesaid, staff for all private counters at PSKs,
  5. technical support for PSKs, POs, DC, DRC and CPPF,
  6. training of staff on the application software, general computer skills, soft skills, customer service & delivery,
  7. call centre and grievance handling,
  8. compliance with the Service Level Agreement,
  9. Change Management and communication strategy & implementation, and
  10. obtaining ISO (9001, 27001, 20000) certifications for the Passport System’.

Vinita Deshmukh earlier wrote about problems faced by applicants at the Pune Passport Office. Please access these stories through the following links:
 

Inordinate delays at Pune Passport office; RTI applications rejected
 

Pune Passport Grievance Forum: Participants blame TCS for delay in getting their passports on time
 

While Pune Regional Passport Officer assures easing procedures, TCS hides but cannot escape
 

Passport troubles in Pune: One agent assures online appointments for Rs200
 

We are not bound to give your passport in the 45-day period, says India’s Chief Passport Officer
 

File an RTI application if you do not get your passport in time

 

(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

User

COMMENTS

nagesh kini

4 years ago

Just because it is TCS it doesn't become great service! The babus were slow and at times corrupt but they delivered. Here they don't!

Vijay Deshmukh

4 years ago

The passport office in Mundhva is gearing and preparing for bribery practice.Lack of uniform policy and unnecessary time torturing practice is the tactics in this direction. The idea of outsourcing is not in favor of common man, it is one more agency to loot common man.

Sameer Zodgekar

4 years ago

The truth is that TCS knows absolutely nothins about Paasport and address proofs. The untrained, ignorant and arrogant staff often insist on only one document, that is Voter's ID Card as address proof. This document is actually the least reliable document; prone to massive spelling and other mistakes. They simply refuse to accept other genuine documents. Governmental officials did splendid job. They were faster, more courteous and more knowledgeable. TCS is a good software company that makes software accordin to detailed specifications. It is unable to handle this job; it cannot make specification. It has absolotely no knowledge about documentation. Passport work should be taken out of TCS's hand. Sameer Zodgekar

REPLY

Gajanan Mamidwar

In Reply to Sameer Zodgekar 4 years ago

Quite true. They told me that I can get refund of Rs.1000/- since my file had got closed due to non-receipt of police verification report. When I approached SB Road office for the same; I was denied any refund outright. Person told me that TCS people are new and they don't know procedures fully.

Gajanan Mamidwar

4 years ago

I don't see any transparency in the working style of MEA. I have paid passport fee twice and yet to get my passport even after 5 weeks of police verification. Also, I was denied any refund of my earlier passport application fee of Rs. 1000/- at SB Road, Pune office.
-Gajanan Mamidwar

nirup

4 years ago

A very good initiative, hope u get the answers out!! I just want to tell that the same prob is bothering us in karnataka too, so when you're addressing the issue can you please represent n speak out for the whole nation??

nagesh kini

4 years ago

Is this outsourcing not PPP that is subject to public scrutiny and RTI?

anil garg

4 years ago

I feel after your taking up the issue system must have improved in Pune Passport Office.If it has not improved yet ,i feel we must take up this as an agitation and make them to improve services.

REPLY

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to anil garg 4 years ago

Nothing much has improved and therefore we need to agitate

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to anil garg 4 years ago

Thanks and hope you are coming!

Prakash Kundur

4 years ago

Hi Moneylife,
Thanks for taking up this project and becoming the rallying point for all citizens who are unable to get the passport easily as it should have been the case.

Please give the event to be held on the 11 March, as much publicity as possible so that people in large numbers can come and protest.

The problem faced by Punekars is not unique.It is replicated all over India. A workable solution must be found to ease the mental torture of applicants.

The billion rupee question is how can agents and touts manage to get appointments when aam aadmi cannot in spite of sitting in front of the terminal day after day??

REPLY

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to Prakash Kundur 4 years ago

Hope you are coming too!

Amit

4 years ago

First of all thanks for coordinating these efforts. I am also waiting for my daughter's passport (aged 6 months) from last 4+ months. Have tried everything from visit to police station, commissioner office, passport office, logged online grievance but no status on that also. I will join you on 11th March.

REPLY

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to Amit 4 years ago

Looking forward to seeing you there!

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)