Passports can now be despatched within four days of the receipt of applications, provided no police verification is required, and Tatkal passports can be despatched the same day.
Until now, the minimum waiting period for a passport was 30 to 45 days.
The Passport Collection Centre here has been upgraded to a Passport Seva Kendra, which has started functioning in a posh, air-conditioned office at Navabharat Circle.
Director of the Passport Seva Project T.V. Nagendra Prasad, who was here till Thursday to set up the Seva Kendra, told The Hindu, “For applications that do not require police verification, passports can be despatched on the fourth day from the receipt of the application. In cases where police verification is required, it can take up to 15 days.”
Henceforth, people can come to the kendra, which uses a token system, and submit their applications and have their documents verified.
Mr. Prasad said that people could make use of the online facility to fix an appointment and complete the process of submitting the documents, getting photographed, and giving the thumb print within 15 minutes. The kendra, which is yet to be formally inaugurated, processed around 60 to 70 applications each on Wednesday and Thursday.
“There have been no hitches in the two days that the kendra has functioned. Tomorrow, we will head to Hubli and begin the trial operation there,” said Mr. Prasad.
He said that a call centre had been set up to handle queries, and it would function for 14 hours a day. However, an IVRS (interactive voice response system) telephone would be in place round the clock, he added.
The Passport Seva Kendra project was mooted over a year ago by the Ministry of External Affairs. Tata Consultancy Services has provided the software for it. Of the 77 offices to be set up across the country to speed up the process of issuing and screening of passports, Karnataka will have five, with two in Bangalore and one each in Hubli and Mangalore, and a mini-centre at Gulbarga.
Keywords: Passport processing