Moneylife Impact: Chief Passport Officer increases daily appointments to 1,100 after inspecting Pune’s Passport Seva Kendra

Chief Passport Officer Muktesh Pardeshi who had earlier refused to accept that there were serious problems at the Pune Passport office finally agrees he miscalculated the division’s projection in terms of the number of passport applicants. He has introduced one appointment date for a family and increased online appointments to 1,100 from today

A reluctant Muktesh Pardeshi, who earlier told Moneylife that the Government of India is not bound to give the passport in 45 days and confidently stated that Pune’s Passport Division is amongst the best in the country, was compelled to come down to Pune for inspection of the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) on 6th April, after Moneylife’s  continuous crusade against the dominance of illegal touts, citizens’ harassment in not getting online appointments, passport officials asking applicants for needless documents, and delay in police verification at the Pune’s Passport offices.

Accepting that “we were wrong about Pune’s projection and could not anticipate the enormous growth in the number of passport applicants,” he announced an increase in online appointments from 775 presently, to 1,100 from today (950 online and 150 walk-in appointments as against 650 online and 125 walk-ins).  In case, even this is inadequate, Pardeshi said he would take a review after a month and increase the number of appointments further, if necessary.

Pune Passport Meeting, chief passport officer, (From left, Shalini Mathur, Project Head, PSK at TCS; TD Sharma, RPO, Thane; Vinay Kumar Choubey, RPO, Mumbai; Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Global Head, Government-Industry Solutions at TCS; Muktesh Pardeshi, CPO, Prakash Javadekar, MP-Rajya Sabha, Shakuntala Rane, RPO, Pune and KG Shah, RPO, Nagpur )

 The appointments which until last week were open for a week, will from today (8th April), open up for a fortnight. One appointment date for a family has also been introduced from today. Until last week, family members were given different dates, much to the inconvenience of citizens, especially those who came from out of Pune from districts which are under the Pune Regional Passport Division.

In the interim period, Passport Melas will be held on a regular basis, in order to bring down the pendency to zero, stated Pardeshi.

In order to further reduce the interference of illegal touts who allegedly indulge in blocking appointments and to reduce the 20% absenteeism of applicants after taking appointments, pre-payment facility would be introduced in a month’s time. Stated Pardeshi, “Citizens will have the facility to pay online through debit or credit cards and for those who are not Internet savvy, through a physical challan to State Bank of India branches. The model is at an advanced stage and MEA (ministry of external affairs0, TCS and SBI are working towards a citizen-friendly system. The fees of the applicant will be valid for one year and he will be given an opportunity to reschedule his appointment, twice, during this period.”

Pardeshi also stated that Citizen Facilitation Centres which are already functioning in different cities would shortly become centres for receiving and helping people in filling up application forms, for Rs100 per application form. There are 60,000 such CFCs in the country, he added.

Lamenting that Maharashtra takes an average of 70 days for police verification which is extremely poor, as against Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi which do not take more than 21 days on an average, Pardeshi said that, “the online verification process which has already begun in Pune should make things easier. We are looking into the present grievances and pendency and will address it on a fast-track basis so that pending police verifications are disposed off as soon as possible. We are going to nudge the police to enhance their efficiency and provide training support.”

At the press conference on 6th April in Pune, Pardeshi refused to accept the dominance of illegal touts and their alleged nexus with passport officials. However, he relented after the media gave him examples. He instantly ordered that, “passport officials would be rotated” and ordered Regional Passport Officer Shakuntala Rane to do so.

Pardeshi refused to make the Master Service Agreement (MSA) between MEA and TCS, public saying that “we will ask if TCS feels comfortable about it.” When Moneylife brought to his notice that it is a public document and TCS is pushing it on the MEA for not providing the agreement copy, he refused to comment. When asked what were the 27 stringent deliverables that TCS was bound by, he gave vague replies.

Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Head Government Industry Solutions Unit at TCS, stated that, “the feedback has been welcome and we will work towards a more efficient service, hand in hand with MEA and the police.”

The meeting-cum press-conference was held in Pune on Saturday, 6th April. Prakash Javadekar, Pune’s Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader and Vandana Chavan, Pune’s Rajya Sabha of NCP party, had met the minister of external affairs, Salman Khurshid on this issue and requested him to send a team for inspection to Pune. Accordingly, Pardeshi had come to Pune along with Passport officers of Nagpur, Nashik, Thane and Mumbai. At the press conference, Javadekar urged Pardeshi to set things right in a month’s time.

Activists of the Pune Passport Grievance Forum were happy with the progress but will monitor the situation.

(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”.)

Gajendra Tawade
1 decade ago
Parking is along road side (for bikes and cars)
Please see pictures attached with this review.
2nd security check makes sure your nags do not have explosives or weapons on it.
Senior citizens, children under 18 years and illiterate people can have one person accompany. They will not allow extra person with other people.
No washrooms for people waiting outside building.

Check in counter:
**Time:** 20 mins.
**Que**: Stand only.
**Facility:** Photocopy, 2 touch screen computers in case you need for do correction in your online forms. You can not take print here. You can go outside the building and print in the netcafe which is walk able distance.
**Processing:** These guys take your old passport (in case you came for renew passport) and photocopy of front 2 pages and last 2 pages of old passport. He will print application forms and token # for you and put it in a file and hand over the file to you.
**People:** TCS Officer

Counter A:
Time: 15 mins
Que: Seats are available
Facility: TV screen which shows you token number and counter number. totoal 40 counter availabel
Processing: They will take picture with digital camera, hand prints, signature in box, print new form with new picture.
People: TCS Officer

Time: 22 mins
Que: Seats are available
Facility: TV screen which shows you token number and counter number. total 10 counter available
Processing: Government officer will ask your address and sign.
People: Government Officer.

Time: 20 mins
Que: Seats are available
Facility: TV screen which shows you token number and counter number. Total 9 counter available
Processing: Government officer will ask your address and sign.
People: Government Officer.

Exit Counter:
Time: 3 mins
Que: No que
Facility: No
Processing: Clerk will give you receipt. You need to fill review form.
People: TCS clerk.

Exit the building. Wait for police clearance at home.
Gaurav Farkade
1 decade ago
Earlier article mentioned "Agents confessed that each one of them has access to a keyword/ codeword which helps them block two appointments per agent."
Did MEA or TCS provide any info on what this keyword is about. Whether it is meant for Passport Office Staff, was this supposed to be part of the software,and how agents are getting it.
Narendra Wagle
1 decade ago
What is this police "verification" about? My wife and I have had 4 passports so far, each time there is need to verify our credentials. We are noe 69 and 78 respectively, and We expect that (1) a visit will be paid by a constable and (2) will be summoned to the police station with some documents in addition to those already submitted.
On the last occasion, we were asked by the police to submit 2 photos, latest ration card, copies of old passport, electricity and telephone bills, housing society or rent receipt, education certificates (from SSC onwards)degree cert. alone will not do, marriage certs.(notwithstanding the wife/husband is the
same. Does this all ensure that Dawood Ibrahim orother dons of his like (as in the plane hijack to Kandahar) will not get
the document, or fake passports with the connivance of officials? But then there is chai pani implicated.
1 decade ago
Great News!
Can something be done at the Mumbai passport office (Prabhadevi) please, where applicants have to wait for 4-5 hours or more, after having got an online appointment, simply because the software that handles the appointments gives more than 50 people appointment at the same time?

What is the point of taking appointment if the whole day is going to get wasted anyway? The actual time at the counter is hardly 3-4 minutes, the rest of the 4hrs 57 minutes is waiting. I wonder on what basis the software (presumably written by TCS) allots appointments?

I did write to the Passport Officer but no acknowledgment or reply is received.

I feel if the number of appointments given for a particular time is reduced to 5 or 10, the appointment may come few days later but the wait times will be drastically reduced

Warm Regards
Peter Theobald
Amit Mittal
1 decade ago
Wish moneylife can also lead such crusade at Ghaziabad Passport centre and help get citizens their basic right without delay and demur.
Atul Sunalkar
1 decade ago
Great job Vinita and Moneylife!!

keep up the crusade!!

1 decade ago
great job moneylife.
anil garg
1 decade ago
Congratulations for the efforts and the result it brought.

today Modi has said that govt makes rules but its employees have to govern.Yes this only makes difference.
In gujarat police verification takes lesser days than in Maharashtra.It is clear that Maharashtra govt and its Police is corrupt.
1 decade ago

It is the relentless crusade form Moneylife that made all the difference.

It is a pity that the authorities took so much time to see the light
1 decade ago
Well done Punekars,you have once again shown that public pressure definitely works however unrelenting the government might be.
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