Bangalore, June 8 (IANS) A day-long passport fair was held here Saturday to speed up processing of applications by the regional passport office.
“A record 855 applications were processed and 1,290 applicants were given appointments for issuing passports at the two centres (seva kendras) in the central and eastern suburbs of the city,” the regional passport office said in a statement here.
The city passport office handles about 1,600 applications daily, which is five times more than three years ago. The twin centres are operated by technology partner and IT bellwether Tata Consulting Services (TCS).
“Though it was an official holiday, the citizen response was overwhelming to the fair, organised at a short notice to dispose off as many applications and appointments as feasible,” an official said.
Applicants can track their application status online with the ARN (application registration number) given to them at the fair at www.passportindia.gov.in.
The passport seva (help) project was first launched on a pilot basis in Bangalore three years ago (2010) by then external affairs minister S.M. Krishna, who is from Karnataka, to offer the service in a timely and transparent manner.
The facility was subsequently extended to Hubli in northern region and Mangalore in the coastal region of the state in partnership with TCS.
“We have processed a record 1.18 million applications and issued 1.1 million passports to citizens of the state during the last three years when demand for fresh passports shot up 43 percent. During the last fiscal (2012-13), we have processed 30,500-36,500 applications on monthly basis, which is an increase of 20 percent over the previous fiscal (2011-12),” acting regional passport officer L. Madan Kumar Reddy said recently.
The handling capacity at the two centres in the city was also doubled to accommodate more applicants and meet the growing demand for new passports and allied services.
As part the ministry’s e-governance initiatives, the project has transformed the passport issuance system through a network of 77 centres across the country by focusing on citizen-centricity, service orientation and transparency.