'Make passport services more citizen-friendly': EAM Jaishankar
The minister underlined the need to deliberate further on reducing the compliance burden on citizens
Stating that the mandate of the Government is to ensure efficient governance and timely, effective, assured, transparent and accountable public service delivery, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday called for making the passport service more citizen-friendly.
“The mandate of our Government is to ensure efficient governance and timely, effective, assured, transparent and accountable public service delivery,” said Jaishankar in his keynote address on Passport Seva Divas 2021 on Thursday.
“As we move ahead on the path of progress, we should take stock of the steps in the realm of passports that would make it not only more citizen-centric but also citizen-friendly,” he added.
“Towards this end, our first approach was to bring in simplification of the passport rules and processes,” the Minister pointed out.
“However, as the process is dynamic, we should continue to look deeper and deliberate further on reducing the compliance burden on our citizens,” he noted.
“The Ministry also made concerted efforts, in close collaboration with the Department of Posts, to further strengthen the outreach of passport services to the citizens by establishing Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) all across the country,” Jaishankar said.
“This endeavour has resulted in expanding network of Post Office Passport Seva Kendras across the length and breadth of this country,” he added.
The Ministry of External Affairs has leveraged the use of technology and digital systems into its’ functioning, including, especially, in delivering passport services, the Minister said.
“Our continuing consolidation and expansion of Passport services has ensured that there is a Passport Kendra in 489 Lok Sabha Constituencies in the country,” he said.
It is also noteworthy that two ‘All Women Passport Seva Kendra’ became operational at Delhi and Cochin, marking the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021 and extending passport services exclusively to our sisters, daughters and mothers, the External Affairs Minister informed.
Continuing with its global outreach exercise, he said that 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.
In February this year, the Ministry integrated the Passport Seva Programme with DigiLocker bringing about a major digital transformation in delivery of Passport services, the Minister stated.
This has enabled citizens to submit various documents for obtaining Passport services through DigiLocker in a paperless mode, he mentioned.
Noting that the Passport Seva Programme (PSP) has successfully completed a decade in service of our citizens, Jaishankar informed that annually over 1 crore passports have been issued for 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 said.
Emphasizing on the word ‘Seva’ as contained in the ‘Passport Seva Project’, the Minister said, the attributes of being responsive, caring, considerate, and transparent are necessary for every ‘Sevak’.
He hailed all the personnel involved in rendering passport and related services for their collective dedication to the citizens of the country, despite the challenges and restrictions posed by the continuing pandemic nationally and globally.