Pune: Although the Ministry of External Affairs Ministry (MEA) has brought about a sea change in the way passport applications are processed in the country to make the procedure seamless and quick, laggard police verification process is proving to be an obstacle in achieving the desired goal. The MEA has express dissatisfaction over the delay of police verification in the city.
Dnyaneshwar M Mulay Secretary, External Affairs Ministry In- charge of Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs who was on a visit expressed his dissatisfaction over long time taken by the police department for completing address and criminal record verification of the applicant thereby prolonging the period of passport delivery.
Muley was interaction with media persons on Sunday. He said that this is a big issue MEA has been facing. Police take too much time for verification of applicants. “While the average time taken for police verification has come down to three to five days in states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, in Maharashtra its about 20 days. This doesn’t go well with the progressive image of the state. We expect it to do much better and hence we are trying to improve coordination with state police,” said Mulay.
Mulay said that MEA’s plan to open Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (PoPSK) in collaboration with India Post has proved a big success in increasing the accessibility of the service to citizens.
“One can realise the importance of work that we have done through PoPSK considering that since independence till 2014 only 77 Passport Seva Kendras were opened while in last one year we have opened 180 new centres. We are effectively opening one or two centres every day. By April 31, the number will touch 251,” said Mulay.
The event where a website dedicated to Mulay was launched, the event was organised by an outfit Vidisha Vichar Manch floated by city-based Mamata Kshemkalyani.
He said that it’s an accepted policy of the EAM to open at least one passport centre in each parliamentary constituency. Mulay said that the aim of EAM has been on changing the impression that passport was a document meant only for ‘elite class’.
“We have managed to market it as a necessity. Earlier, only businessmen, political leaders, doctors, engineers and highly educated people used to obtain passport. In reality, passport can be a liberating and empowering documents. By increasing awareness and increasing access, we have changed this attitude,” said Mulay.