489 Lok Sabha constituencies offer passport services: Jaishankar

India has established a passport issuance centre in 489 Lok Sabha constituencies, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said on Thursday, adding that the government hopes to establish similar centres in the remaining 54 constituencies the strengthen the outreach of passport services, reports Elizabeth Roche for Mint.

Speaking on the occasion of Passport Seva Divas, Jaishankar said the mandate of the government was to “ensure efficient governance and timely, effective, assured, transparent and accountable public service delivery.”

The Minister said continuing with the “global outreach exercise, the Ministry has integrated 174 Indian Embassies and Consulates abroad with the Passport Seva Programme enabling a centralized passport issuance system for our citizens in India and diaspora abroad.”

“We should complete the Mission integration process on priority, including in new Missions and Posts abroad,” he said.

The government’s “Apply from Anywhere for Passport scheme” and the “mPassport Seva App,” that was available on both Android and iOS platforms, launched in July 2016, “continue to provide ease of submission of application at any Passport Kendra across the country, irrespective of residential jurisdiction,” the Minister said.

“In February this year, the Ministry integrated the Passport Seva Programme with DigiLocker bringing about a major digital transformation in delivery of Passport services. This has enabled citizens to submit various documents for obtaining Passport services through DigiLocker in a paperless mode. They are not required to carry the original documents. I am confident that integration with Aadhaar currently underway will further enhance and ease the passport issuance process. This process should be expedited for completion at an early date,” he added.

The Minister complimented officials for their work on ensuring issuance of passports during the pandemic and commended police forces in different states for ensuring the verification process despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“Annually, over one crore passports have been issued during three consecutive years till 2019. Despite the pandemic, we continued to deliver passports in a timely manner and hope to reach pre-pandemic levels as soon as possible,” he added. (Source: Mint)

 

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