Special Service and Features11-August, 2014 17:32 IST
Passport Seva: Modernization of Passport Services in India

Feature

Passport Seva/

I. Day 2014

 

 

Muktesh k. Pardeshi *

 

The Passport Seva Project is one of the largest Mission Mode projects of the Government of India under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). The project is being successfully executed by the Ministry of External Affairs in Public-Private-Partnership with Tata Consultancy Services as the Service Partner.

 

The existing infrastructure, systems and processes were found inadequate to meet the growing demand for Passport and related services. In 2013, the Government rendered about 85.17 lakh passport services in a year. This is an all time high and amounts to over threefold increase since 2000. At this rate, the Government is likely to be reaching a milestone of issuing one crore passports a year during the year 2014-15. In the first six months of this year, 42 lakh applications have been received by Passport offices in India. This does not include overseas applications.  As on 30th June 2014, some 5.4 crore Indian citizens held valid passports. India today accounts for about 14% of global issuance and is placed third behind China and the United States

 

The Passport Seva Project was conceptualized and launched to augment and improve the delivery of passport related services to Indian citizens. The all India rollout across 23 states and 63 cities was completed swiftly by June 2012. This IT-driven Project is run with over 2,500 persons deployed from the private Service Provider and 2,500 officials from the MEA. The Project runs on the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer model wherein the initial investments are by the private partner. There is minimal investment from the Government.

 

 

 

Vision

 

“To deliver all Passport-related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner & in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained & motivated

workforce”.

 

 

 

 Passport Seva Network

 

 

The Passport Seva Project has a country-wide networked environment integrating 77 state-of-the-art Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs),   39    Passport Issuing   Authorities   and external stakeholders  involved in the  process viz.  Police, India Security Press and India Post. The Passport data is also accessible at Immigration Check Posts and at the 183 Indian Missions & Posts abroad.

 

 

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 Benefits to Citizens

 

The project has transformed the way passport and related services are delivered to Indian citizens:

 

1.      Simplified and Transparent Processes

 

The complete process of application for Passport and related services has been re-engineered and automated. The application is filled online through the user friendly Passport     Seva    Portal     http://passportindia.gov.in,      fees submitted   and   appointment   scheduled   for   the    selected Passport Seva Kendra.  On the appointed day and time, the applicant needs to   visit the PSK   where the application is processed,        supporting documents scanned into the   system,   photograph and biometrics taken.  The application and documents are verified by Passport Office staff and a decision to grant the service taken in front of the applicant. An acknowledgement receipt   is handed over to the applicant wherein the applicant is informed   of the decision in writing.

 

 

An Electronic Queue Management System (EQMS) ensures first-in-first-out based smooth flow of citizens across the various stages of processing at the PSK. The EQMS can cater to multiple services and multiple categories of citizens – for eg. Senior Citizens can be assigned to a separate queue.

 

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2.      Improved Amenities

 

 

The Passport Seva Kendras   provide applicants   with   a comfortable and air conditioned environment. Amenities in every PSK include photocopying machines, public phone booth, baby care room, newspapers & journals, ATM, internet kiosks and food   & beverage kiosks.  The   PSK  also has  the provision of wheel chair,  washroom  for physically  challenged and ramp &  lift for easy  access  to  the  facility. Helpful staff guide the citizens through the process at the PSK.

 

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3.      Multiple Channels of Communication

 

 

The Passport Seva Project provides the citizen with multiple channels for effective communication and connects with the Passport Issuance system.

 

a.       Passport  Seva  Portal:  The online  portal  is  a  Single Window Online  Interface  which provides extended  reach,  ease  of  use, greater transparency  with availability of  up-to-date information on passport services and real time status tracking.

 

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b.      Call Centre & Helpdesk:  The National Call Centre answers queries round-the- clock in 17 languages.  An email based helpdesk is also available to answer citizen queries.

 

 

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c.        ‘mPassport  Seva’  Mobile Application: The mPassport  Seva mobile app enables citizens to access Passport related information on their Smart Phones. mPassport Seva is available on all major platforms namely Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry.

 

d.   Value Added SMS Service for   Status

Tracking:  The Passport Seva system sends SMS updates to applicants at the time of passport dispatch along with the Speed Post tracking number. A value- added premium ‘SMS   Service’   has   also been implemented for passport applicants to provide citizen-centric mobility solution, comprising incoming and

Outgoing mobile messages (SMS) at a nominal charge.

 

4.      Extended Coverage & Reach

 

The Passport Seva Project has significantly increased the reach of Passport Services to Citizens. Various improvement initiatives have been taken to further extend the coverage of the services.

 

a. Passport Seva Melas: Regular Passport Seva Melas are conducted on weekends at the PSKs   to provide services to citizens, thus, helping cater to   an unexpected temporary surge in demand

b. Passport  Seva  Camps:  Passport  Seva  Camps are occasionally set up to  provide passport  services in remote locations where there are no PSKs.

c. Common Service Centres: The Ministry   has    collaborated   with   Citizen   e-Governance Services to extend the reach of Passport services to rural areas. Citizens can approach a Common Service Centre (CSC) for online filing of application, payment of fees and scheduling of appointment at a nominal charge. Similar services are also available at select Post Offices.

 

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5.   Interoperability with Third Parties - Faster Service Delivery

Passport Seva system has electronic data exchange with external entities  involved in the process.  A digital interface  has been provided to  integrate with the key  stakeholders namely, th Police  (for  verification  of  an  applicant’s personal  particulars),  IndiSecurity Press  (for passport booklet supply) and India Post (for passport delivery) This seamless exchange of data ensures faster and smoother service delivery to Citizens.

 

  

5.      Uninterrupted Services to Citizens

 

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A Passport Seva Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) has been   set   up   for 24X7   monitoring   of   the Passport Seva infrastructure and environment. The NOC is equipped with an intelligent monitoring framework for proactive identification of potential infrastructure,   system and security issues.  This ensures           committed          services          to             citizens. State-of-the-art security technologies are deployed in the SOC for enterprise wide   security monitoring of physical locations, systems, network and more importantly cyber space.

 

 

 

 

Awards

 

 

The Passport Seva Project has won various awards and accolades for its endeavour to provide best-in-class passport services to Indian citizens. Some of these include:

 

 Computer Society of India Nihilent Award of Excellence, 2012

-    eIndia Award of Excellence, 2013

-   Promising Innovation Award at Tata Innovista Regional Rounds, 2013

-   SecureIT Award for Information Technology, 2014

 

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 Conclusion

The Passport Seva Project has been successful in transforming the way Passport services are delivered to Indian citizens. Close to 18 million applications have been processed in the new system to date. On an average, 45,000 citizens are serviced daily and citizen satisfaction at the PSK stands at 99.5%. The 24X7 Call Center handles close to 25,000 calls daily. The online portal provides up-to-date information/ real time status and receives over 20 million hits/day.  The mobile app mPassport Seva which is also available for the convenience of citizens receives over 15,000 hits per day. Through re-engineered, standardized, integrated and automated processes, implemented using state-of-art technology, services are being delivered in a transparent manner, with extended reach, better accessibility, accountability and efficiency.

 

*Sh. Muktesh k. Pardeshi is Joint Secretary and Chief Passport officer in the Ministry of External Affairs

 

(PIB Features)

Email: - featuresunit@gmail.com

himalaya@nic.in

 

SS- 212/SF- 212/11.08.2014

YSK/ Uma

 


(Release ID :108474)