Staff Reporter

Focus on work quantity at expense of quality

Coimbatore: Citing inadequate staff strength and increasing workload and the move to privatise passport services, the All India Passport Employees Association wanted the Government to find an early solution to their demands.

President of the Association, K. Krishnamoorthy said that 37 passport establishments across the country was the only revenue generating office in the Ministry of External Affairs.

In 2002, 27 lakh passports were issued and revenue generated was Rs. 270 crore with 1,885 staff but in 2008 the numbers of passports issued were 53 lakh generating Rs. 530 crore with just the same staff strength.

There had been too much of focus on work quantity at the expense of quality resulting in rushing through passport applications without enough security of evidence.

The association had been demanding more manpower and also have in-house modern technology.

Instead the Government was inviting private players both in technology and manpower at a cost of more than Rs. 1,000 crore.

Handling of passport matters was highly sensitive.

The extension of this responsibility to a private player would hamper the credibility of the Government. The private vendors are bringing in their own software where the Government would technically have no say.

The software also has a provision for digital signature of officials of passport office which would actually be a security threat. Non-Gazetted superintendents are ordering to issue passport. However, the pay parity for Superintendent at Passport Offices was a long pending issue.

To draw the attention of the Government, a productivity agitation was held on February 27 by working on a holiday. Demonstrations were conducted on March 2 and 3 during the lunch time.