NEW DELHI: India will soon embark on Passport Seva Program (PSP) Version 2.0, including new and upgraded e-passports, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the occasion of Passport Seva Divas.
Dr Jaishankar also asked passport-issuing authorities to support him in renewing the pledge to provide passport and related services in a "timely, reliable, accessible, transparent, and efficient manner.
The second version of the passport program was in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of enhancing ease of living for citizens.
“These initiatives will usher in a new paradigm of 'EASE': E: Enhanced passport services to citizens, using a digital eco-system A: Artificial Intelligence-powered service delivery S: Smoother overseas travel using chip-enabled e-passports E: Enhanced data security," he stated.
The foreign minister further said that after the pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) rose to meet the rising demand for passport-related services by increasing the number of daily appointments and organizing special drives over the weekends. He added the ministry processed as many as 13.32 million passports and miscellaneous services last year, which marked a rise of 63 per cent from 2021
Dr Jaishankar further noted that there were 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in the country in 2014, which have risen seven-fold to stand at 523 in 2023. "PSP has significantly contributed towards the Government's goal of a Digital India', with milestones such mPassport Seva Mobile App, mPassport Police App, integration of PSP with DigiLocker, and the 'apply from anywhere' scheme.