Passport service centres opened at Malad, Andheri

In a move that promises fewer hassles for people looking to complete passport-related formalities, the first two Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) part of a flagship initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) were launched in the city on Tuesday in Malad (East) and Andheri (East).

The PSKs have been established by the MEA in association with Tata Consultancy Services, and are among 60 across the country that are aimed at helping applicants to not only fill up passport application forms, but also speed up the process of obtaining a passport.

According to Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi, joint secretary (Passport Seva Project) and chief passport officer, under the PSK system, an applicant will have to be present at the centres as her or his photograph and fingerprints will be taken by officers for biometric data.

The project seeks to overhaul the passport issuance system with the vision to deliver passport-related services to citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner. The idea is to deliver these services in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and a trained workforce.

"Mumbai being one of the busiest cities of India has been allocated three PSKs. They will be handling the front office related tasks of passport application, renewal, error correction and appointments," said Vinoy Choubey, regional passport officer, Mumbai.

He added that the applicants could fill forms online and come to the PSK with the reference number. The applicant would then be guided by officers about documentation, and would be given a token to submit the documents and get her or his photos and fingerprints taken by government officers. After completion of these procedures, the applicant would be given a slip with the details of her or his passport application receipt.

"This entire procedure will not take more than 45 to 60 minutes," said Choubey.

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