Because of the overwhelming response to our It's Official, our monthly Reader Connect programme, we are shifting the venue to the Institution of Engineers on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Veedhi.
The September 24 programme offers readers a platform to discuss issues arising out of the introduction of the Passport Seva Project in Bangalore with Regional Passport Officer K.J. Srinivasa.
The process of obtaining a passport, which has undergone a sea change ever since the External Affairs Ministry introduced the Passport Seva Project in May 2010.
Instead of depending on travel agents or touts, applicants can now register themselves on www. passportindia.gov.in, fill the application form and submit it online before getting an appointment with the Passport Seva Kendras (PSK).
Yet, the project, being implemented in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is riddled with glitches.
The shift from hard copy to online has posed hurdles to both Net-savvy and not-so-savvy applicants who find it tough to get appointment slots for a convenient date at a PSK of their choice.
Even after getting an appointment, many are turned away by the personnel manning the inquiry counter for failing to bring the relevant documents. There's a catch here: the list of documents mentioned on the website is not the same as that demanded at the inquiry counter and this leads to frayed tempers.
Though the Regional Passport Office, Bangalore, has taken a series of measures in coordination with TCS to streamline the process, the rise in the number of applicants — 1,200 per day in 2009 to 1,900 per day at present — is turning out to be a challenge.
Those who want to participate in the interaction can mail their queries, grievances or suggestions to It's Official, The Hindu, 19 & 21, Bhagwan Mahaveer Road (Infantry Road), Bangalore 560001,or firstname.lastname@example.org. The programme, on September 24, will begin at the Institution of Engineers at 11 a.m.