New Delhi : A college student residing in Bhopal never believed that she would get her passport so fast.
Last week she went to the local passport seva kendra after on line submission of documents. She presented originals, completed other formalities and returned home, only to receive an sms that her passport application has been duly completed and details sent to the police for verification, within 24 hours. She was particularly happy because just about three years ago when her elder sister tried to make her passport from the same office, it took weeks. The reason given was there were simply no printed passport books available with the department and the lone office in a vast state was under heavy pressure.
But now, Shruti (name changed on her request), a second-year economics student, has become a kind of ‘brand ambassador’ of the MEA as she is telling her young friends all over that “getting a passport had never been so easy in India.”
With the Ministry of External Affairs easing rules for passport making and enhancing the efficiency of system than ever before, there is a quantum jump in the number of people seeking to have a passport. In the past three years a record number of four crore passports have been delivered.
Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs, said that her ministry had set up a target of having a passport seva kendra (PSK) within the radius of 50 km across the country for the benefit of people who had to travel a long distance earlier.
Upon taking charge as the minister three years ago, her first job was to order printing of 5 lakh passport books, paucity of which had created a crisis.
While launching the ‘Know India Programme, a portal dedicated to the young people of Indian origin staying abroad, Swaraj said taking the postal department in extending passport making had helped a great deal and now in remote rural areas of the country such services had spread out A rise of 48% had been registered in the number of people getting passports made after the tie-up with postal department.