Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Metros in India most preferred destinations of tourists: Report

While international tourists prefer to visit metro cities, Indians on the other hand prefer Bangkok and Singapore

Mumbai: Metro cities of India are the favourite destinations of international travellers visiting the country with New Delhi at the number one spot, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore, reports PTI quoting the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) report.
"Metro cities dominate the top 10 favourite Indian destinations list amongst international travellers. The capital city of New Delhi bags the number one spot as the most popular Indian destination for overseas travellers, followed by Mumbai in second place and Bangalore comes in third on the list," the HPI report said.
Other popular metros include Chennai at fourth position, Hyderabad (eighth) and Kolkata (ninth).
Goa, the popular beach and party destination of the country, is fifth most favourite destination for foreigners, while Jaipur, popularly known as the 'Pink City', is at the sixth spot. Cochin, a city in Kerala, takes the 10th position on the list.
According to the report, South East Asian destinations are popular with Indian travellers going abroad.
The great value rates available in Bangkok make it the most preferred international destination amongst Indians, followed by Singapore, it said.
Other popular South East Asian destinations in the top 10 list included Pattaya, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket on the sixth, seventh, ninth and 10th positions, respectively.
The other international destinations in the top 10 list include Dubai on the third spot, New York on the fourth, London on the fifth and Las Vegas on the eighth, the report added.


Are consumer forums courts or commissions?

Retired judges or judicial officers who have been in the rut for decades cannot adjust themselves to the requirements of tribunals as experience in consumer courts has clearly and unequivocally shown

The Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 1986 to provide quick, efficacious and cheap justice to consumers across the country. A hierarchy of separate District Forums, State Commissions and National Commission was set up for the purpose. Pecuniary and territorial jurisdictions were also set up for helping consumers attain their goal of quick redressal of consumer complaints.
At the silver jubilee celebrations of enactment of the Consumer Protection Act in 2011, consumer activists across the country took stock of the role consumer courts had played in enhancing consumer power. The report was dismal. Consumer courts had backlogs which were comparable (and sometimes worse) than civil courts and consumers were faced with a barrage of technicalities in pursuing their complaints filed in forums, many of which seemed insurmountable with the limited resources at their disposal.
The rot started creeping into consumer forums with the entry of advocates into the proceedings. The Advocates Act mandates that lawyer has a “right of appearance” in all forums, tribunals, courts and quasi-judicial hearings. Advocates and adjournments appear to be the same and not even the opposite sides of a coin.
Consumer courts have also been bogged down by judges insisting on going through the entire rigmarole of “proving the case beyond reasonable doubt” even when the Consumer Protection Act specifically mandates that if the procedure laid down in the Act is followed, then the principles of “Natural Justice” need not be adhered to by the Forum/Commission—something unparalleled in Indian law/statutes.
Judges coming to the consumer courts bring with them the baggage of “judicial teachings” of lower courts wherein every new point is made in the form of an application, which the other side must respond to in writing and then adjudicated upon. This process itself entails at least three hearings, most of which are deliberately resorted by advocates to impress their clients, enhance their fees and generally harass the opposite side. The president of the Forum will usually turn a blind eye to these infringements of consumer rights through such proceedings, even though the Act and the Supreme Court have held that trials in Consumer Forums are summary in nature as they do not involve complicated points of law.
The insistence of format rather than form has proved a great hindrance to consumers coming to court in search of justice. When confronted with statements like “justice delayed is justice denied” the immediate counter is “justice hurried is justice buried”.  This does not take into consideration what the hapless consumer is supposed to do with a defective fridge or two-wheeler, if the consumer is given an order after two years and the order is appealed against and decided three years thereafter.
Surely, quasi-juridical forums were set up to cut technicalities and deliver prompt judgments and not to get bound in red tape? Can  a retired judge who has got into the habit of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s all his life suddenly change to adapt to “common sense judgment” rather than  a long-winded dissertation of the merits of the case with legalities ruining the entire concept of Tribunals and Forums?
It is well-established that it is the presiding officer of a Forum or Tribunal who decides the pace and system of work in his Forum. No-nonsense presiding officers see 100% attendance in their Tribunals and no requests for adjournments on frivolous grounds because advocates know that such requests will be shot down unceremoniously at the outset itself. The need for dispensation of justice cannot be thwarted because an advocate has “matters in several courts and cannot attend to all of them at the same time”. Such an advocate should brief a colleague and/or send arguments in writing if he is interested in quick disposal of the case.
Retired judges or judicial officers who have been in the rut for decades on end cannot adjust themselves to the requirements of tribunals as experience in consumer courts has clearly and unequivocally shown. 
To read more articles on consumer interest, click here.



Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

The actual fact is Justice system has become commodity like.In India you can BYE justice,there is price tag available for order to OBTAIN.May it be civil criminal,or any other forum.Therefore Supreme court wants its people adjusted after retirement to various forums.They can MINT money in the system.

Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

AS I wrote yesterday judiciary wants to try every dispute with legal questioning which is meant for advocates and judgeson which they thrive.In fact if disputes are resolved without legal brain the settlement is from HEART.If it is decided by court it it is ruining all parties from all aspect Socially Economically and Mentally.There is absolutely no neseccity of legal acumen in consumer forums and RTI act.Lawyers should be engaged in State or National commission if need be.And our judicial system has maligned itself by EVER delayed justice and CORRUPT practice.They are behind destroying all forums tribunals etc.

Planning to go abroad? Getting your passport is much easier now

The new online system for getting a passport is well thought out. The major beneficiaries are mainly educated and tech-savvy elite who constitute a very small portion of our population. A large number of our youth still depend on middlemen or touts for getting their passports

Here is good news for the tech-savvy elite of our country. Thanks to the external affairs ministry, the procedure for getting your passport has undergone a sea change for the better. Getting a passport rightfully due to you was a nightmare, with several hours of waiting just to get into the passport office to submit your papers with no certainty of your application being accepted. With touts hanging around to make a quick buck, one was virtually at the mercy of these unreliable wheeler-dealers, who even got forged passport/endorsements for a hefty fee from the gullible public.  All this is a thing of the past, with entire machinery now geared up to give you a sleek and genuine passport with minimum of hassles.


New procedure for issue of passports1

“Passport Seva Project is a citizen-centric e-governance initiative introduced by the ministry of external affairs for improving passport service to the public” so says the website of the government. Under this plan, with 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) spread all over the country, applying for passports has been made online and the following procedures are made mandatory with effect from June 2012.


Steps to follow:

1: Visit the home page of website : www.passportindia.gov.in

2: Download the e-Form through the “Download e-Form” link on the home page.

3: Ensure that you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader (9 or above) on your computer to open and fill these forms. If you do not have this latest version of software, download this by clicking on the link provided on this page before downloading the e-form.  

4: Fill the downloaded e-form and click “Validate & Save” button. This will generate an XML file in your computer, which is required later for uploading into the system.                                                                          

5: Register through the Passport Seva Portal and create a User ID in your name. (Click on the ‘Register’ link under the Online Application Filing Section on the home page.)

6: While registering as stated in step 5, you will be required to mention your e-mail id, and you will be asked to confirm by clicking on the link on the activation e-mail which is supposed to have been sent to you. If you do not receive any e-mail, as it happens many times, due to which your login account does not get activated, you can again create a User ID but without mentioning your e-mail ID, which is not mandatory, and then log in to your account without any problem.

7: Login to the Passport Seva Portal with the user ID created as stated above.

8: Upload the XML file (generated in Step 4) through the ‘Upload e-form’ link. Do not upload the PDF form as only XML file is accepted by the system.

9: Click the “Manage Appointment” link on Applicant Home page and schedule an appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra preferred by you.

10: Click the “Print Application Receipt” link to print the application receipt containing “Application Reference Number” (ARN) and the details of the appointment scheduled for you.

11: Visit the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) where appointment has been taken, with original documents, on the appointed day and time to complete all formalities for issue of the passport. This may take an hour to complete all procedures like taking your photograph, fingerprints, signature, etc.  


Time taken to issue passports

Under the new dispensation, the system is organized in public-private partnership with Tata Consultancy Services. They check the demographic data, scan and upload supporting documents, take the applicant’s photographs and biometrics and accept application fees on behalf of the government. It is said that the sovereign and fiduciary functions of verification, granting and issuing of passports are handled by government officials. The entire process is online, including the interface with the police authorities for verification of personal particulars of applicants and with India Post for tracking delivery of passports.


Simple renewal of existing passport without any changes is done within about seven days, as the police verification is done subsequently. In all other cases it may take three to four weeks, as they are issued only after police verification and satisfactory feed back from the police department.


Only emergency/medical cases may visit PSKs without appointment, but it is left to the discretion of the Passport Officer to provide service without an appointment. Detailed instructions in respect of passport for minors, documents required, fees payable, etc are available on the website mentioned above.  


How to make the system more user-friendly?

Though the new system is well thought out, the major beneficiaries are mainly educated and tech-savvy elite who constitute a very small portion of our population. A large number of youth of our country who aspire to go abroad, though literate, have neither access to computers nor the facility of internet to enable them to take advantage of this new system, and they continue to be dependent on middlemen or touts for uploading of applications and arranging appointments, etc, due to which, the chances of malpractices cannot be totally ruled out. Besides, the sheer number of applicants who apply for passports has increased manifold and it is very difficult to get an appointment through the website of the passport office, as all appointment slots get closed within a few minutes of commencement, causing disappointment even to the articulate web user. It is, therefore, necessary to supplement these steps with the following additional facilities for the convenience of a large number of our people, who still face problems to get their passports, which they are entitled to as a matter of right, being citizens of this country.

  1. The number of PSKs, which are 77 at present, is totally inadequate for a country of our size, with such a large population aspiring to go abroad in search of jobs or otherwise. During 2011, more than 73.65 lakh passport services were rendered, which indicates that nearly 30,000 applications are processed every working day. Therefore, there is a pressing need to increase the number of PSKs and they should be located in many more cities across the country, where there is pressure of people seeking passports.
  2. In metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc, there is a need to double the number of PSKs to enable the citizens to easily get an appointment without having to try for several days, thus considerably reducing avoidable inconvenience.
  3. At present there are District Passport Cells in a few districts of our country, where walk-in applications are accepted instead of online applications. But they are very few and far between, and do not meet the needs of our people living in the countryside, who have to travel long distances even to submit their applications. In all district headquarters, where there are no PSKs, district passport cells should be set up so that people have access to this facility nearby within the district where they live.
  4. Even in metros and state capitals, every PSK should reserve one day of the week exclusively for senior citizens and people with disabilities, who should be provided with the facility of submitting walk-in applications also, so that the needs of these special classes of people are taken care of. They should have the option to go through the online system or through the walk-in facility on the day earmarked for them in every PSK.  

The aim of this newly introduced system as stated in the website of the ministry is “to deliver all passport-related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce”. This objective can be achieved only if a large number of Passport Seva Kendras are opened in many more cities and the facility of walk-in applications being made available in more number of District Passport Cells at least for next couple of years, till the broadband penetration increases considerably in our country.


1Source: www.passportindia.gov.in.


To read other articles by the same writer, click here.

(The author is a banking and financial consultant. He writes for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’)



Udit C

4 years ago

I got my Passport with an inkjet printout for a photo, even though I was called to submit two more in addition to the statutory eight. No one is clear about what is to be done.

nagesh kini

4 years ago

Yes, full sympathies for the persons who suffered from the bureaucratic hiccups.
The almost automatic on line TDS refund is a case in point.
Even in the case of Passport, the system has just been put in place, just let it get over the teething problems.
The Police verification, in the post-terrorism era is a must to establish the genuiness. There is the RTI to tackle delays and/or harassment. My experience with Mumbai Police is good - they are a harassed lot.

Ramkumar agrawal

4 years ago

Yes yestreday i get my passport with three working days under tatkal scheme. the system is quite good and clean.

Ramkumar Agrawal Pune.

Sudheer M

4 years ago

Excellent initiative by government. However, the police verification also should be transparent and the system of "chai paisa" for verification should be stopped completely.


4 years ago

yes,this is the reason why our few leaders are dealers of their percentages commission in indian videsh seva.i agree with mk gupta comment,trying for passport from2000 and not get it due to limited resources.

MK Gupta

4 years ago

I am afraid, the writer is yet to "face the music", so to say, through his own experience. The police verification apart, the procedure remains "expensive" still--rather costlier job has become! After all, getting a job or a transfer in this section (either in i=the passport office or the special branch of police doing the 'verification') costs money! The system itself is expensive with corruption running riot in all fields of life, from the TOP (literally) to the bottom and there is no more any stigma attached any more to this "normal way of life"! Otherwise, getting IT refunds, even though the TDS claimed by assessees would have become automatic, irrespective of the internal problems between the deductors and NSDL and AS26 sort of things! Or, getting an electricity or water connection or a CGHS card, and the like, would be so hassle-free and easier! For a retired person relocating from a metro to Delhi, getting a CGHS card is so very time consuming, humiliatingly harassing and expensive that the senior citizen feels like giving up! And, then, getting reimbursement of medical treatment expenses is unimaginably expensive! Why dont you carry on a study of this "welfare" area to understand the government's true mindset on healthcare at leasyt in a limited arena? What to talk of Delhi's govt. hospitals and the woes of the public--and at night when the security staff and the class four employees rule the hospitals and women attendants constantly remain in fear of the worst? But, thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my ideas on your site and for this informative piece based on govt. press releases.

Gaurav Parikh

4 years ago

I was one of the first to use the services of the PSKs in Mumbai when I applied for a new passport for my 16 year old daughter who was awaiting her Std X Results ~ The Online Process was cool but the document requirements were not comprehensively stated on the website.Luckily an agent had warned me to take along what was not even mentioned.Great New Office but the lack of knowledge was frustrating even by the Centre Head on the point of Emigration Clearance Required Stamp as my daughter did not have her Matriculation Certificate yet.They were first unsure whether under the new passport format whether this stamp would be put as it was not required till she was 18.Then they said it would not be there. Finally she was issued a new passport at age 16 with 10 year validity as requested but with stamp put stating Emigration Clearance required.Also it took months to get the passport and even the police verification took ages and the local police station required her personal presence and even the whole set of supporting documents yet again as the PSK had not send them a copy of these.The Helpdesk too was not very knowledgable and parrots what's on the website.The Passport Authorities say they cannot remove the Emigration Required Sentence in this new Passport Format and I will have to apply again for a New Passport for her and pay the requisite fees again !However they tell me till she is 18 not to worry about this as Emigration clearance is not required till then.However the Passport does not mention this age exception.The only solution appears to be apply for a new passport again !...rather silly as this one was issued in 2012 and is valid till 2022 and there should have been a provision to remove the Emigration Requirement Stamp from this New Passport


Rajesh Kothari

In Reply to Gaurav Parikh 4 years ago

There are many issues like that.

Read my blog at http://rjkothari.blogspot.in/2012/04/tod...


In Reply to Gaurav Parikh 4 years ago

Yeah, there were quite a few hiccups reported when the transition was in progress. Lot of people's application got stuck for months. However, in the long run it is a beneficial change as it cuts out the middlemen to a great extent and the processes are also more streamlined, not to mention much better offices (similar to the VFS centres). As the staff gets more experience in handling a variety of cases, ho

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