Adopt citizen-centric role, Khurshid urges passport officers

New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Monday urged passport officers to adopt a citizen-centric role and for measures that facilitate speedier and courteous service.

Inaugurating a two day Passport Officer's Conference at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Bhavan, Khurshid declared June 24 as "Passport Seva Divas", as the Passport Act 1967 was enacted on this day.

The Act lays down the foundation of a sound legal framework for issuance of passports and other travel documents in post-independent India. Thirty-seven passport officers and the representative of the Andaman and Nicobar administration are participating in the conference, said a statement.

The minister also launched the Online Passport Fees Payment facility at 18 more Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in the country. The facility is already available at 25 locations. By July 3, the online facility will be available in the rest of 15 PSKs as well.

A mobile-based Passport Seva was also launched to offer a wide variety of services to smartphone users, such as passport application status tracking, locating the PSKs and general information on various steps involved in obtaining passport services. The service would soon be available to other mobile phone users also.

Khurshid unveiled a plaque symbolising the inauguration of the new Passport Bhavan in Surat as another step forward in improving physical infrastructure of CPO.

The minister lauded the efforts of Central Passport Organisation employees for striving to improve governance in the country in tandem with Tata Consultancy Services, the service provider through Passport Seva, a transformational initiative of the government under National e-Governance Plan. He also gave away Passport Seva Puraskars to the CPO employees and passport officers.

As part of the ministry of external affairs' e-governance initiatives, the Passport Seva Project (PSP) has transformed the passport issuance system across India through an increased network of 77 PSKs.

The benefits of the Passport Seva Project include -- increased network of 77 PSKs acting as extended arms of 37 passport offices across the country, longer working hours to benefit the citizens, 24X7 national call centre support in 17 languages, complete digitization and processing of application when applicant visits the reducing the overall time spent and eliminating multiple visits, said the statement.

More than one crore passport services have been rendered in the new system.

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