S Jaishankar Proposes Manufacture, Rollout Of E-Passports On Priority
External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

S Jaishankar Proposes Manufacture, Rollout Of E-Passports On Priority

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The Ministry of External Affairs has proposed expediting manufacturing of e-passports so that the travel document with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future, said external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Monday.

Speaking at the seventh Passport Seva Divas, Jaishankar said the ministry has initiated discussions with the India Security Press regarding issuance of chip-enabled e-passports to Indian citizens. "We propose to pursue the manufacture of e-passports on priority so that a new passport booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future," the minister said.

The ministry will also continue with the process of opening new Post Office Passport Seva Kendras in every Lok Sabha constituency where no passport seva kendras exist today, said Jaishankar.

"Both our ministries (ministry of external affairs and ministry of communications) are completing the necessary formalities for early inauguration of the POPSK already announced. We would also be announcing more locations for setting up POPSK after completing the feasibility studies," said the foreign minister.

"Last five years of passport services delivered by the ministry constituted a passport revolution. The mandate of the MEA is to ensure good governance and a transparent, efficient, timely, effective, reliable, assured and accountable public service delivery system," he said.

Jaishankar thanked communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for enabling opening of 412 POPSKs since January 2017.

"Together with the 93 Passport Seva Kendras which are already functional, this has taken the total number of PSKs in the country to 505 today. The common man of the country now has a Passport Seva Kendra near his or her residence and is not required to travel too far to submit the passport application," he said.

Jaishankar said the partnership between MEA and Department of Posts is a wonderful example of best practices in citizen-centric governance. He said optimal use of technology should be made along with the tools provided by the government's initiatives under Digital India.

"During the Passport Seva Diwas last year, the m-passport seva mobile app and ‘apply for a passport from anywhere' scheme were launched. These two initiatives demonstrate how technology can help applicants," he said.

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