TCS assures smooth passport delivery system

The high-level meeting of Pune Passport Grievance Forum with senior-most officials of Tata Consultancy Services organised by Moneylife Foundation at its Mumbai office has raised some hopes for the generally harassed passport applicant 

 
Tata Consultancy Services’ (TSC’s) vice-president and head for government-industry solutions unit, Tanmoy Chakrabarty, assured the conveners of the Pune Passport Grievance Forum (PPGF) that they will submit to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) a proposal to extend online appointments stretching to 20 to 30 days in order to lessen citizens’ distress in not getting online appointments promptly. Presently, citizens can take appointment only for the day.
 
While stating that TCS would consider giving more appointments than 650 per day currently, he appealed to citizens to be present for the appointment. He said that presently, 20% of applicants drop out every day, thus denying genuine passport applicants his or her fair chance. The meeting started with a detailed presentation by Mr Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Head Government Industry Solutions Unit at TCS on how its contract with the government on passport seva works across India. This was followed by a presentation by Moneylife Consulting Editor Vinita Deshmukh on the problems faced by applicants at the Pune passport office at each level. 
 
Very importantly, it was revealed that a passport applicant can book his appointment for seven days from the day he logs in and not ONLY one day as is the common understanding. Shalini Mathur, senior Manager, TCS, stated that, “It has always been open for seven days from the day you log in, but most applicants are unaware of the same.’’ For some strange reason, this was not given adequate publicity.
 
Passport applicants undergo the trauma of revisiting Counter B or Counter A in Pune due to the supposed inadequacy of their documents. Rajesh Dogra, operations head of Passport Seva Project, stated, “We shall propose to the MEA to appoint seasoned passport officials at one more counter, which we will create, called Pre-A counter. Here, the documents will be verified by veteran passport office employees before they are scanned, so that number of trips are reduced when the applicant goes to Counter B for verification of documents.’’ 
 
This was a sequel to a question posed by conveners of PPGF as to why untrained and raw TCS personnel have been appointed at Counter A, where documents are blindly scanned without even basic verification. Presently, applicants are required to make several visits, on the whims and fancies of the passport officials.


In order to bring complete transparency to the number of documents that a citizen is required to bring to the passport office for his application, Dogra stated that, “Public information boards will be prominently put up on the premises of TCS and the Regional Passport Office (RPO), at several places, so that citizens are clear about the list of documents required. This will ensure transparency.’’
 
Regarding the inconvenience caused to applicants waiting for hours on end outside the Passport Seva Kendra of TCS, Chakrabarty has appealed to citizens to come only 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment. As for the inconvenience caused to applicants travelling to Pune, TCS officials assured that they would take up the opening up of mini Passport Seva Kendras in all six districts based on a proposal by MEA last year.
TCS officials will also request RPOs of the MEA to lodge complaints against illegal passport agents who roam in the premises. TCS will request MEA officials to hold passport melas in various towns and cities to make people aware of the working of the passport offices.
 
Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife, stated that, “The Pune campaign has had an overpowering impact, which has led the highest authorities of TCS to take notice. Citizens of Pune should keep up the campaign till it reaches a logical end.’’
 

Conveners Vinita Deshmukh, Vijay Kumbhar and Sandeep Khardekar represented PPGF. They have decided to intensify the campaign through a thorough follow-up with TCS. They are also writing to minister of external affairs Salman Khurshid and are taking up the issue of police verification and security with the Pune police
 
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    User 

    COMMENTS

    Mahiti Adhikar Manch

    8 years ago

    Dear friends,

    I Congratulate the efforts of done at moneylife to bring TCS to listen the greivances.

    I request my comments be not taken personal, my apologies, if they have hert the some participants from citizens side.

    I don't think TCS should feel bad, actualy transparency is very less from them. Otherwise they would have complied the Information Commissions order. They still say will have to consult legal department. Is their legal department bigger than the order of commission.

    TCS is having most of the contracts of Mahaharastra government, including the BMC. Maharashtra and BMC website also does not have any agreement posted on the website which need to be as per to Seqction 4 of RTI.

    You may find some time potehole tender on website of BMC but not of any IT company.

    I applied for passport of myself, daughter and wife on on-line application on 8th March, two times got msg to contact on 10th, 13th and now 17th. It is surprising how come the slot gets full before the time allotted to get in touch online. This is my experience.

    I just came to know about the meet when I spoke to Vijay for some other issue, when he was travelling to Mumbai for the meet.It was just a coincidence of my application for passport and the mail of Moneylife on passport on 13th. So thought of informing of very current problem.

    I may not be able to participate to take responsibility as already there involvement for formtion of SALT(Social Audit Local Team), Mahti Adhikar Manch and added one more of NCPRI. So I may not be able to do justice for additional responsibility.

    Thanks
    Bhaskar Prabhu



    R Balakrishnan

    8 years ago

    I had three to four experiences with Chennai Passport Office. Must say that their pre-checks of documents helps us a lot. The queue system works, though it is like a fish market. A govt employee is best suited to check the documents is not right. After all, the law is clear cut about what documents are needed. Does not need an Einstein to figure out. If there are three to four pre checking counters, life will be smooth.
    The bigger issue at Chennai is the one about police verification. That takes time and a lot of 'push'. Hope the police verification at Pune / Mumbai is greasefree.
    Again, it is sad that a routine experience becomes a nightmare and requires high profile intervention.

    PATTABHI

    8 years ago

    Congratulations.. but as Shri Bhaskar Parabhu has pointed out, all these can be sabotaged by the online appointment software logic and operation and the so-called help-line guys..The team that has taken up this issue should keenly follow up and test the system at very stage instaed of waiting for complaints to surface.

    REPLY

    Vinita Deshmukh

    In Reply to PATTABHI 8 years ago

    Like I said, lets not be cynical - we are not some roof top howlers to let go of an issue. Also, TCS officials have promised to look into this - they claim the software is not at fault. Lets give them time to rectify. I am confident something good is going to come out of this

    rajeshpai

    8 years ago

    Hi Moneylife,

    Congratulations for bringing the TCS officials to the table for discussions.

    I am surprised that their manager is quoted as saying like:

    "Shalini Mathur, senior Manager, TCS, stated that, “It has always been open for seven days from the day you log in, but most applicants are unaware of the same.’’ For some strange reason, this was not given adequate publicity."

    Now as an applicant I have no choice in this.As i log in for an appointment, I see a date and some time slots.I click randomly and pray that it goes forward.Now where is the choice of 7 days??Almost all applicants are seeking any day any time and not trying for an appointment of their date and time.Most likely when the applicant clicks on any time slot, the system goes slow and will not result in the appointment getting successful.

    You may also call the TCS officials to your office to try out the exercise of getting an appointment fixed by them using your system.You may call for some volunteers who have not been able to get an online appointment for their log in ID and password.This may be tried by TCS to know first hand the problem faced by the common man.If the TCS guys get an appointment by their trying, the person who got the appointment fixed will be happy and thankful.Else TCS will know the problem first hand.

    REPLY

    Vinita Deshmukh

    In Reply to rajeshpai 8 years ago

    yes you are absolutely right about this as I got a call to air the same doubt late last night. Will be speaking to Shalini today to clarify further and will revert to you.

    Mahiti Adhikar Manch

    8 years ago

    I feel this is one more attempt by them to just do the PR agency.

    I am trying to get the appointment via net for the past 3 days I am not getting at all. It gives us the next date to get in touch. Every time to they give date of contact and time to contact is 3.oopm but when you go to their site the slot is full before time. Latter when you visit their site at 3.00 pm again they will give next date to contact so again it come try on and on ...

    So I contacted the help line they said visit the Pass Port office at Mumbai with online registration number and they will help to get the appointment then what is the use of online form submission.

    It is all an eyewash and just one more pr from TCS.

    Bhaskar Prabhu
    MAhiti Adhikar MAnch
    Mumbai

    REPLY

    Sucheta Dalal

    In Reply to Mahiti Adhikar Manch 8 years ago

    Hi Bhaskar

    I wish you were there for the meeting yesterday. It was certainly open to all activists. We had also asked people to send in passport related issues and received just three or four that have been passed on to TCS.

    Had you come, you would have been able to make your point.

    The meeting was frank and open and as someone who has spent over 27 years in journalism and activism, I can tell you that it was a genuine attempt to understand issues, explain bottle necks and find a solution.

    I dont think it is fair for you to dismiss it as PR without having been there.

    In fact, what TCS has done, if you want to call it PR in the most positive sense, must be appreciated and emulated by the rest of corporate India.

    I dont see Infosys, which is in a similar situation over MCA21 as well as the Tax website, try and reach out to people. They simple wash their hands off and tell us to talk to the government.

    What made the meeting so meaningful yesterday is that Vinita Deshmukh, Vijay Kumbhar and Sandeep Khardekar were so well prepared.

    Hats off to Vinita for waking up at 2.45 in the morning to prepare a power-point presentation and to come all the way from Pune to be in for the meeting before 10.30 am.

    Even after the meeting there is a flurry of activity in the passport office at Pune. Why not make an attempt to do a serious study of the problem in Mumbai? Document the problem and lets take it up.
    best
    Sucheta

    Vinita Deshmukh

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 8 years ago

    I totally agree with Sucheta. Bhaskarji, we could give you all our ``expertise'' if you want to lead this campaign in Mumbai.With Sucheta around, be sure of pillar-like support.

    nagesh kini

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 8 years ago

    Bhasker, I entirely agree with Sucheta.
    After my two appearances at the Sub-Registrar's Worli office, I'm convinced with a dedicated person at the helm of affairs assisted by a lean and mean staff and working software and hardware even the most ancient of state govt. bodies can deliver more efficiently.
    The Sub-Registrar has funded from his pocket a wheel chair here and also at his two earlier rural postings.
    In Mumbai there is no lift for the elderly and handicapped to
    access the steep 2nd Floor. His requests are in vain! He needs help!

    Vinita Deshmukh

    In Reply to Mahiti Adhikar Manch 8 years ago

    yes you are right that online appointment should be accessible to each applicant and he or she should not have to go for a walk-in. We have taken up this issue. However, lets not be too cynical - the fact that TCS top most officials came for a one-to-one meeting, means they are serious about it. And of course, you think Moneylife and Pune Passport Grievance Forum is going to let them go with the alleged `PR' visit? I am sure you know us better! Cheers

    nagesh kini

    8 years ago

    I've just witnessed two documents at the Office of the Sub-Registrar Mumbai City III at the MTNL Building, Smashan Bhumi Marg, Off Adarash Nagar, Worli.
    Though a Maharashtra Govt. entity it is most unlike one.
    Most Citizen-friendly in the truest sense and needs to be replicated by all Pass Port offices too.
    Operates in 7am-2pm and 2-9pm.
    Grants appointments too.
    Everything computerized - Finger printing and iris scanning. Enough comfortable seating with all day Marathi TV channel.
    Sub-registrar Mr. Samudre extremely friendly, Cell 9730273300. Suggests SMS before calling.
    Worth a visit by all activists.

    REPLY

    Vinita Deshmukh

    In Reply to nagesh kini 8 years ago

    sounds good. Maybe TCS could at least have a look at this model. Tks

    Sunil

    8 years ago

    Wow I am impressed with this. TCS did the right thing by at-least meeting and talking. I am sure this communication will go a long way in delivering a better service to us - the citizens. Congratulations Moneylife and the Vinita and team in Pune for the persistent efforts . Thank you.

    Centre approves Rs1,207 crore drought relief package for Maharashtra

    Out of the total amount, Rs807 crore will be released under the National Disaster Relief Fund to 3,905 villages in the state and the rest Rs400 crore will be released under the National Horticulture Mission to 1,100 villages where drought has hit kharif crops

     

    An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday approved Rs1,207 crore relief package for Maharashtra.

     

    “Rs1,207 crore drought relief package has been approved for Maharashtra,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is also a member of the EGoM, said after the meeting.

     

    Out of the total amount, Rs807 crore will be released under the National Disaster Relief Fund to 3,905 villages in the state where drought has affected rabi crops, sources said.

     

    The rest Rs400 crore will be released under the National Horticulture Mission to 1,100 villages where drought has hit kharif crops, they said.

     

    The Maharashtra government had demanded a relief package of Rs1,801 crore under the National Disaster Relief Fund, but the central team after assessing the situation recommended Rs 872 crore.

     

    Last year, Rs778 crore was approved to the state under this fund to mitigate losses to crop.

     

    Shinde said the EGoM has approved drought relief packages for Kerala and other states as well.

     

    Of the total 34 districts in Maharashtra, the worst- affected are Solapur, Ahmednagar, Sangli, Pune, Satara, Beed and Nashik. The situation is also serious in Buldhana, Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded, Aurangabad, Jalna, Jalgaon and Dhule districts.

     

    Some districts in the state are facing acute shortage of fodder and drinking water problem. Drinking water is being supplied through tankers in most affected villages.

  • User 

    Allahabad High Court says government may reconsider protocol list

    The union government has so far been maintaining that the order set out in the Table of Precedence is meant only for State and ceremonial occasions and has no application in the day-to-day business of the government. However, it is used daily by all the VIPs and VVIPs ignoring the hardships faced by citizens

     
    The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, while hearing a writ petition, directed social activist Dr Nutan Thakur to send a representation to the Union government for reconsidering the protocol list. Following this directive, Dr Thakur has sent a representation to the government requesting to quash the present Table of Precedence no33-Pres/79 dated 26 July 1979 (http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/table_of_precedence.pdf ).
     
    Dr Thakur, who is also a Right to Information (RTI) activist filed the writ petition for quashing the Table saying this is contrary to the provisions and spirit of the Constitution. The petition claimed that the vice-president is primarily the chairman of the Rajya Sabha and hence to place him above the other heads of the three wings of governance envisaged in the Indian Constitution seems to be inappropriate. Instead, the prime minister, speaker of the Lok Sabha, the chairman of Rajya Sabha and the chief justice of India, should be placed at the same footing, Dr Thakur said in the petition. 
     
    Similarly, she said, many positions not even mentioned in the Indian Constitution like cabinet secretary of the Union government, chairman and members of the Planning Commission and the deputy prime minister have been placed above many Constitutional posts which is inappropriate.
     
    “It is often said that the order of precedence has only a formal relevance and is not synonymous with a person’s authority and importance, yet this order of precedence had a more widespread use, on various other occasions. It somehow gets associated with the state recognition of the authority concerned as regards his/her seniority/importance/precedence in governance and other social recognitions,” Dr Thakur said in the petition.
     
    While dismissing the petition for lack of any representation, the HC bench consisting of justice Uma Nath Singh and justice VK Dikshit directed Dr Thakur to send a copy of the writ petition before the Union of India, by way of a representation for consideration and order. 
     
    Table of Precedence issued by the secretary to the president of India determines an authority’s official, social and public stature and has its own importance and relevance. The Union government has so far been maintaining that the order set out in the Table of Precedence meant for State and ceremonial occasions and has no application in the day-to-day business of the government. 
     
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    COMMENTS

    NSriramamurty

    8 years ago

    MoneyLife Foundation has Published earliar an Article on AP Aicc Chief Botsa Satyanarayana's Daughters Wedding Extravagant Ceremony,for which RTA official's Letter issued to Subordinates to arrange Transport Vehicles and Police Elaborate arrangments done for it are Published.As per Table of Precendance explained above now,RTA and Police Action is Illegal.As Petetion can be Filed in AP High Court,submitting RTA's Letter and Police Letter(if it can be obtained with RTI Act by MoneyLife ),AP HC may issue suitable instuctions to AP Govt.& Recovery of RTA & Police Expenses incurred for Marriage arrangements.

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