The press statement issued by the ministry of external affairs claims that passport issuance in Pune has increased by 64%, with a corresponding increase of 11% in the number of applications processed and police verification clearance up by 133%
A little over a month after Chief Passport Officer Muktesh Pardeshi and a top official from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) addressed a press conference in Pune and assured improvement in passport services of the Pune Regional Passport office, beleaguered with inefficiency and corruption, some positive steps towards citizen convenience have been implemented.
As per a press statement issued by the ministry of external affairs (MEA), increase in online appointments, quicker disposal in police verification clearance; facilities for citizens like provision of drinking water, hassle-free parking and separate queue for senior citizens and minors; enhanced security, and putting up of public boards to warn against passport agents have become a reality. Moneylife which had spearheaded a sustained campaign since March along with activists had made these relevant demands.
According to Pardeshi, “The number of appointments at Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Mundhwa has been increased to 1,100 on a daily basis, a rise of 16%. At the same time, to ease the problem of unavailability of appointment slots online, the appointment release cycle has been increased from one week to two weeks which has resulted in an additional availability of 6,000 appointments for the people.”
Pardeshi further states that, “Statistics indicate that passport issuance in Pune has increased by 64%, with a corresponding increase of 11% in the number of applications processed. On the other hand, the police department has also been able to clear the pendency of passport applications that witnessed a 133% increase. We are still trying to manage the problem of absenteeism, which has increased from 25% to 30%. Would request applicants to diligently follow the processes while applying for a passport and not let their appointment go waste.”
Inordinate delays in police verification were one of the major hurdles in applicants receiving their passports. According to Assistant Regional Passport officer Ms Arora, “We have deployed two of our personnel in the police department in order to help it to dispose off police verification cases quickly. We found that the number of pendency was exaggerated. With our joint effort, there are now less than 5,000 pending cases of police verification.”
Despite these claims by the Regional Passport Office, Moneylife has received complaints of non-issuance of passport despite clearance of police verification. Two cases which have been reported with Moneylife are:
1. Name - CH Joshi
Passport File No. is PN1070400995712; Police Verification Report sent to Passport office from Police Commissioner Office on 31-08-2012 Acknowledgement no. - 72733.
Passport Seva Kendra - Status still shows as “Passport application is under review at Regional Passport Office.”
2. Swati Bhagat:
Passport File no PN1060810374613. Police verification report sent on April 17. Passport yet to be issued.
The press statement states the following enhanced conveniences and facilities have been made available to the passport applicants at Passport Seva Kendra, Mundhwa:
• 1,100 appointments available on a daily basis
• Police verification clearance increased by 133%
• Passport issuance increased by 64%
• Elongated appointment cycle made—additional 6,000 appointments available to the people
• Pre-A counter and a government official at pre-verification area to assist applicants regarding documentation
• Deployment of a government officer in pre-verification area to resolve applicant queries regarding documentation
• Additional security guard deputed to manage parking outside the PSK building
• Enquiry desk established outside the PSK at the security entrance point to help applicants with the general queries regarding passport services
• Drinking water facility has been extended near the security gate of PSK premises
• Separate queues for walk-in applicants, senior citizens, minors, etc. with proper signage being installed in pre-service area to avoid confusion
• Special multi-lingual signage installed at the PSK cautioning applicants to avoid dealing with touts and agents
• To speed-up the passport services, the Pune City Police has also started using electronic Police Verification (PV) transfer model which has resulted in real-time dispatch of PVs to RPOs.
As per the press statement, “As part of MEA’s e-Governance initiatives, the Passport Seva Project (PSP) has transformed the passport issuance system across India through an increased network of 77 PSKs. The ministry is improving governance in Passport Offices by focusing on citizen-centricity, service orientation and transparency.”
Readers are welcome to write to [email protected] in case of complaints regarding passport issuance at the Pune Regional Passport office, Senapati Bapat Road of the MEA and the Passport Seva Kendra, Mundhwa of Tata Consultancy Services.
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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