Tech tool for passport

The external affairs ministry is putting in place a system that will allow officials to check the authenticity of a verification certificate accompanying a Tatkal passport application with the click of a mouse in front of the applicant.

By Monalisa Chaudhuri
  • Published 9.07.15
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The external affairs ministry is putting in place a system that will allow officials to check the authenticity of a verification certificate accompanying a Tatkal passport application with the click of a mouse in front of the applicant.

Under the new system, bureaucrats eligible to issue verification certificates would have to get themselves registered with the passport seva portal to facilitate online verification of the certificates.

"Passport officials will have to send the bureaucrat a text message to verify the authenticity of a certificate," an external affairs ministry official in Delhi told Metro over the phone.

A Tatkal passport is issued to an applicant on an emergency basis without police verification. However, the applicant has to furnish a verification certificate from a government official of a certain rank.

Sources said the verification process for Tatkal applicants is being revamped following reports of submission of fake certificates from across the country, including around 60 from Calcutta, over the past six months.

"We are using technology to solve this problem," said Golok Kumar Simli, the principal consultant and head of the technology wing of the passport seva project.

"Getting the names of bureaucrats registered and sending them text messages for verification will save us a lot of time. We hope to start the system in three-four months."

In the upcoming system, the verification of certificates will be carried out right in front of the applicants.

In the current system, passport officials conduct verification by sending a letter to the bureaucrat who has issued the certificate. "The process takes at least a fortnight. By the time the reply comes, the Tatkal passport has been issued," an official said.

If a certificate is found to be fake, passport officials showcause the applicant and take steps to impound the passport after he/she sends a reply.

"We come across applicants who had hired agents to get a Tatkal passport and are unaware of the forgery. But if a document is found to be fake, the responsibility lies with the applicant," the official said.