New Delhi: External affairs minister S. Jaishankar on Monday said his ministry has proposed manufacture of e-passports on priority so that the travel document with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future.
Speaking at the seventh Passport Seva Divas, Mr Jaishankar said the ministry has initiated discussions with the ‘India Security Press’ regarding the project for issuing chip-enabled e-passports to the citizens. “We propose to pursue the manufacture of e-passports on priority so that a new passport booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future,” the minister said.
He said optimal use of the technology should be made along with the tools provided by the government’s initiatives under Digital India.“During the Passport Seva Diwas last year, the mpassport seva mobile app and apply for a passport from anywhere scheme were launched. These two initiatives demonstrate how technology can help applicants,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar also gave awards at the function to the best performing passport offices. Jalandar Passport Office got the first prize followed by Cochin Passport Office and Coimbatore Passport Office at second and third position respectively.
He said the state police authorities have an important role in the timely delivery of passports.
“The average time taken for police verification has come down to 19 days in 2018, and we would like to bring this down further. In this context, the performance of states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala has been exemplary and their award is well deserved,” he said. He said that in line with the commitment made by the government in its previous tenure, the ministry shall continue with the process of opening new Post Office Passport Seva Kendras in every Lok Sabha Constituency where no seva kendras exist today.
Noting that on average, more than one crore passports are issued every year, Mr Jaishankar thanked communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for enabling opening of 412 POPSKs since January 2017. — PTI