In a notification issued on 30 May 2014, the Ministry of External Affairs-MEA cautions citizens not to fall for fraudulent agents as Passport Offices are the only recognised channels to apply for passport
In order to do away with the 'Agent Raj' for passport applications, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued a stern public notice on May 30 2014, stating that: “There is no system in place to ‘recognise/ authorise’ any individual or any travel agency in this regard in the country.”
Since March 2013, Moneylife has been campaigning for citizen-friendly system for passport applicants considering that Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is in public-private-partnership (PPP) with the Passport Division of MEA to bring reforms through technology. Moneylife had also highlighted how passport agents are in an alleged nexus with authorities, as they provide appointments and passports much quicker as compared to an applicant who directly applies for his passport.
In a never before public notice that is definite in its appeal, states: “It has come to the Ministry’s notice that some private portals/ individuals have been claiming that they are ‘recognised / authorised’ by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, to extend passport assistance to the public.”
“The Ministry hereby makes it clear that the passport portal (www.passportindia.gov.in) is the only Government portal offering passport services to citizens within India. The portal is web-based and can be accessed by anyone, anytime, anywhere for seeking passport services. There is no system in place to ‘recognise/authorise’ any individual or any travel agency in this regard in the country. Any one dealing with such fraudulent portals/ advertisers/ claimants, will do so at his/ her own risk and consequence.”
Besides, the website www.passportindia.gov.in is also running a header stating that those applicants who are not internet savvy, can avail of the Citizen Service Centres for filling and uploading passport application forms and scheduling appointments for a nominal fee of Rs100.
This warning by the MEA is indeed a welcome move and will help in ending the menace of passport agents which have been charging applicants Rs2,000 or more. Agents have also been creating hurdles for passport applicants seeking to use the right route. However, it remains to be seen whether Citizen Service Centres are indeed applicant-friendly. While Moneylife will track this issue, we request readers to give us feedback on Citizen Service Centres and any other experiences they had/ have at passport offices.
(Vinita Deshmukh is 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”.)
Though the BJP leader did not suffer any injuries, he apparently suffered a shock in the impact of accident
Gopinath Munde, the union rural development minister and the only mass-based leader from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra on Tuesday died in a road accident in Delhi.
The BJP leader was on his way to the airport, when the car in which he was travelling was hit by a Tata Indica at 6.30am. He was scheduled to address a rally at Aurangabad in Maharashtra today.
Munde was immediately rushed to AIIMS Trauma Centre by his personal assistant and a driver. When he was brought to the hospital, he did not have pulse and blood pressure. There was no cardiac activity, said a doctor from AIIMS.
Though Munde did not suffer any injuries, he apparently suffered a shock in the impact of accident.
Munde asked for water from his security guard Nair who was sitting in front of the car and told him to take him to the hospital.
Despite all measures, Munde could not be revived and was declared dead. His funeral will take place at his village in Beed on Wednesday.
He's survived by his wife, Pradnya, who is the sister of late Pramod Mahajan, and three daughters, Pankaja (Palve) who is an MLA, Pritam who is a doctor, and Yashashri, who is studying law.
Born in Parali, Maharashtra, on 12 December 1949, Munde entered politics when he met Mahajan during his days in college.
He was a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) for five terms during 1980-1985 and 1990-2009. He was also the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly during 1992-1995. He has held the post of Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1995-1999. Munde was elected to Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014, and served as the Deputy Leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha. He was appointed as the Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in Narendra Modi's cabinet.
Upmove may sustain if the Nifty manages to keep itself above previous day low
The Indian market on Monday recovered more than the losses it made in past two trading sessions. The indices opened in the positive and consistently edged higher. The positivity in the market seems to emanate from the efforts taken by the newly formed government.
The BSE 30-share Sensex opened with a gap up at 24,369 while NSE 50-share Nifty opened higher at 7,264. After hitting the day’s low at the beginning of the session the indices started with their upward journey. Sensex hit a low at 24,270 while Nifty hit a low at 7,240. Sensex reached a high of 24,709 and closed near it at 24,685 (up 468 points or 1.93%) while Nifty hit a high of 7,369 and closed at 7,363 (up 133 points or 1.83%). The NSE recorded a lower volume of 109.21 crore shares. India VIX rose 0.99% to close at 16.4975.
Except for Pharma (1.27%), FMCG (0.80%), NI15 (0.27%) and Media (0.15%) all the other indices on the NSE closed in the positive. The top five gainers were PSU Bank (4.56%), Infra (4.03%), CPSE (3.44%), PSE (3.38%) and Bank Nifty (3.34%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 37 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Larsen & Toubro (6.70%), BPCL (6.53%), Bharti Airtel (5.49%), ONGC (4.98%) and Jindal Steel (4.77%). The top five losers were HCL Technologies (2.30%), Tech Mahindra (2.03%), Dr Reddy (1.86%), Sun Pharma (1.84%) and ITC (1.51%).
Of the 1,581 companies on the NSE, 1,113 companies closed in the green, 436 companies closed in the red while 32 closed flat.
To expedite the process of decision making and usher in greater accountability in the system, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday announced that the Prime Minister has decided to abolish all the existing nine Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoMs) and twenty-one Groups of Ministers (GoMs). The Ministries and Departments will now process the issues pending before the EGoMs and GoMs and take appropriate decisions at the level of Ministries and Departments itself.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley vowed on Sunday to uphold fiscal discipline, despite pressure on public finances from figures showing the economy grew by less than 5% in the fiscal year just ended.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) undertakes a monetary policy review on Tuesday. The RBI is widely expected to keep rates unchanged.
Diesel prices were on Saturday hiked by 50 paise a litre, excluding state levies, the second increase in rates in three weeks. The revised prices were effective from Sunday, 1 June 2014.
The HSBC India Manufacturing PMI for May 2014 indicated that production volumes at Indian manufacturers continued to rise. Growth of both total new orders and new export business accelerated over the month, leading to further job creation across the sector. Up marginally from 51.3 in April to 51.4 in May, the seasonally adjusted HSBC India Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) pointed to a slight improvement in operating conditions and one that was weaker than the series average.
Larsen & Toubro posted growth in its March 2014 quarter result. The company also mentioned that it sees gradual recovery in the domestic demand which will further further fuel its growth rate. The stock was the top gainer (6.23%) in the Sensex 30 pack.
Except for Cipla which closed marginally higher (0.49%) all the other pharma stock in the Sensex 30 stock, closed in the negative. Dr. Reddy’s (1.39%) and Sun Pharma (1.34%) were the top two losers.
Syndicate Bank was in news for having raised $400 million through a senior unsecured bond offering. The five-and-a-half-year bond priced at a spread of 240 basis points over the five-year US Treasury. The offering is denominated in dollars, and would bear a fixed interest of 3.875 per cent per annum. The bonds would mature on December 04, 2019. The stock was the top gainer (11.63%) in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
Gitanjali Gems came out with weak March 2014 quarter and annual result. The stock was the top loser (6.31%) in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
US indices closed flat with a positive bias.
Except for KLSE Composite (0.49%) all the other Asian indices trading today closed in the green. Nikkei 225 (2.07%) was the top gainer.
European indices were trading in the green while US Futures were trading marginally higher.