NEW DELHI: Following the liberalization of passport policies announced on 23 December 2016, there has been a 30 percent surge in demand for passports and on February 7, the Passport Office processed a record 53,400 applications.
The government has been constantly improving the ease with which the passport can be delivered to the seekers through its Passport Seva Kendras that it has opened across the country in recent years.
“Following the liberalisation of passport policies, we have seen nearly 30% surge in demand for passports. For example, a record number of 53,400 applications were processed on 7.2.2017 out of which 49,259 were fresh applications. This is the highest since the commencement of the Passport Seva Project (in 2010),” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
The growing economy and globalisation meant the demand for passport, an essential travel document to foreign countries, had been increasing by around 10 per cent annually. In December last year, following recommendation from a three-member Committee drawing members from the MEA and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The rules were brought up to speed up the process with changing times. The new rules was aimed at hassle-free issuance of passports for single parents, orphans, adopted children, children born out of wedlock and sadhus/sanyasis. Now the government has opened post office Passport Kendras in 56 areas, where Head Post Offices will deliver passport services.
“The objective of this partnership is to extend passport services on a larger scale and to ensure wider area coverage,” Swarup added.