The Regional Passport Office,Chandigarh,is all set to launch online system of payment for booking appointments at Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). Those who want to seek appointments for getting new passports made would have to pay full fee prior to visiting the PSK. The step is being taken after it was observed that applicants were booking appointments but were not turning up. RPO,Chandigarh,has been chosen for the pilot project.
Under the new process,payments can be made while booking an appointment on the website – http://www.passportindia.gov.in either by credit or debit card or Internet banking of State Bank of India. Applicants can also use the challan option provided on the website and deposit the money in State Bank of India (SBI) branch after generating a challan online. In such cases,upon the confirmation of payment receipt by SBI in online system,applicants can take an appointment. Further,instead of the applicant choosing the date and time slot of appointment,the system will automatically give the earliest available appointment.
A decision in this regard was taken during a recent visit of Chief Passport Officer of India Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi. It was decided that the system would be started in Chandigarh first. Thereafter,it would be extended to other PSKs in the country. The date of launching the system would be announced on the website in advance.
RPO Rakesh Agrawal said,The system would be launched within the next three to four days. At present,around 2,000 people seek appointments everyday. However,half of them do not turn up. Due to this,our system is unutilised as we can process 1,500 passports in a day. The applicants will not miss appointments once they have made full payment in advance.
He added that soon a system would be introduced wherein people who apply for re-issuing of passports would also have to seek appointments. This is not the case at present.
Since the launch of Passport Seva Project in Chandigarh in 2010,more than 10 lakh passports have been issued. During 2012,about three lakh passports
were given to the applicants. Officials say that appointment slots have been increased from 39,000 to 46,000 per month in the past one year. From April 2012 to 2013,the applications processed have increased by 16 per cent from 24,000 to 28,000. The police verification completion within 21 days has increased from 31 per cent in 2010 to 60 per cent till March 2013.