Passport applicants would no longer have to queue up at seva kendras. A click or touch on their smartphones would enable them to receive alerts or track updates from home or office.
Applicants can get all the related information by downloading the app — mPassport Seva — on Android, Windows or Apple iOS platforms-enabled cellphones. Regional passport officer Anand Kumar said: “The Passport Seva app was introduced last year in many cities. From December 2, the system was introduced in Patna.”
The app provides information, including Passport Seva Kendra locator, applicable fee based on service, mode of submission and tracking passport application status.
Anand said that the premium optional text message service has been introduced to enable citizens to receive alerts and updates regarding progress of their passport applications. As part of this service, applicants will receive text alerts from the time of submitting applications till the time service is rendered.
The text message service is chargeable and the applicants have to pay Rs 30 as a one-time enrolment fee while applying for the passport. According to the passport office, the entire process would bring in transparency and the applicants would not have to visit passport office regularly to get updates.
The biggest advantage is that applicants would receive information about police verification, as most applications get stuck or delayed at that stage. At present, 26 out of 38 districts have online police verification and the rest would have the facility by year-end.
Anand said: “Through text messages, the applicants would also get information about progress in police verification. If the applicant’s passport gets stuck owing to incomplete verification, he/she can submit the additional documents to update the record.”
Residents, too, are happy with the new system. Uday Bhaskar, an applicant at the Passport Seva Kendra at Ashiana Mor, said: “It is good that the SMS system has been introduced here too. Now, applicants would get all information on their mobiles sitting at home.”
Anand said: “The International Civil Aviation Organisation has issued standard parameters, applicable for all countries across the globe. Under the rules, the Indian Civil Aviation Organisation has decided to phase out all handwritten passports or passports valid for 20 years.” All holders of handwritten passports or passports with validity of 20 years have been advised to apply for re-issue of their passport before the November 24, 2015 deadline.