Working of Emigration Processing Software and steps have been taken by the Ministry of External Affairs to further simplify the mechanism of issuing passports: Rajya Sabha Q&A
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
QUESTION NO 513
ANSWERED ON 27.11.2014
Working of Emigration Processing Software
513 Shri Gulam Rasool Balyawi
Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to satate :-
(a) whether it is a fact that a new Rs. 100 crore Emigration Processing Software installed by the Ministry is holding up Passports because it is much slower than the previous system, if so, the details in this regard:
(b) the action taken in the matter so far; and
(c) the action taken to further simplify the mechanism of issuing Passports?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS [GEN. (DR) V.K. SINGH (RETD)]
(a) & (b) The eMigrate Project launched by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) on 26th May, 2014 has been designed to facilitate and improve emigration management of workers from India. It is a comprehensive system covering entire spectrum of emigration including foreign employers, Indian Missions and Posts abroad, Protector of Emigrants Offices, MOIA, Recruiting Agents, Emigrants, Insurance Agencies, Ministry of External Affairs and Bureau of Immigration. It is aimed at ensuring safe and legal emigration of Emigration Check Required (ECR) passport holders to ECR countries. The objective of the system is to ensure that all stake holders like foreign employers, recruiting agents, emigrants, Indian Missions & Posts and MOIA officials are accessing a unified platform. It has inbuilt provision for accessing Passport Seva database for validation of passports. However, it has no effect on issuance of passports.
(c) The following steps have been taken by the Ministry of External Affairs to further simplify the mechanism of issuing passports:-
i. Police Verification: Police Verification of applicants’ particulars plays an important role in timely dispatch of passports. The Ministry as well as the Passport Offices continue to engage closely with the Police Departments across States/Union Territories and with concerned Home Departments to reduce time taken in police verification.
ii. Passport Portal: A more user-friendly portal http://passportindia.gov.in was released in September 2013. The Passport Portal is kept updated with Advisories/Notices and Press Releases relating to Passport services developments.
iii. To address the concerns relating to availability of appointments, the Ministry introduced Online Payment System in July 2013. There has been a noticeable improvement in availability of appointments since then. There are certain categories of applicants and services for which ‘walk-in’ facility is available.
iv. mPassport Seva mobile app, which was launched on Android platform in March 2013, has been made available on Windows and Apple iOS platforms. This app provides passport related information including PSK locator, applicable fees, mode of submission and tracking of passport application status on smart phones.
v. The Passport Seva system sends four free of cost SMS to applicants – (i) at the time of dispatch of passport, (ii) in ‘returned undelivered’ passport cases, (iii) rejection of request for counter delivery cases and (iv) clear Police Verification(PV) report in pre-PV PCC cases or review of PV and clearance by the PIA. In addition, a premium optional SMS Service, on nominal payment basis, has been made available to enable citizens to receive alerts and updates regarding detailed progress of their passport applications and pending actions. The service can be availed from any mobile phone.
vi. Common Services Centres (CSCs): With a view to address the challenge of digital divide, especially in the rural hinterland, the Ministry in association with CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd. (which is promoted by the Department of Electronics and IT), has facilitated online filing of passport applications, through the vast network of over one lakh CSCs across rural hinterland. The arrangement was firmed up in March 2014.
vii. Passport Melas: In order to speed up passport issuance and meet high or seasonal demand for Passports, Passport Melas are organised from time to time on weekends at PSKs by Passport Offices.
viii. Passport Adalats, on need basis, are also conducted by Passport Offices to redress passport service grievances by dealing with citizens directly.
ix. Greater outreach: The Ministry is working on setting up 18 more Passport Seva Kendras(PSKs) in addition to the existing functional 77 PSKs across the country.
x. Passport Seva Camps: In order to provide closer and speedier passport services to people located far away from PSKs, the Ministry is organizing Passport Seva Camps at various locations in the country.
xi. Simplification of procedure: It has been decided to accept registered rent agreement as proof of address. It has also been decided w.e.f. 1st August, 2014 to do away with ink signatures on passports and replace these with stamped signatures to save time and manpower. The Ministry has also introduced the system of self-attestation of documents replacing the requirement of attestation by gazetted officers.
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