Cops in the country are set to go fully digital with passports. The hard copies of the passport verification report (PVR) will be sent online to the Police Commissioner’s office from November onwards. The earlier procedure, which took around 20 odd days, will now be conducted in less than a week. This comes as a release to many last minute mine-diggers. Also adding a sigh of relief to the citizens who go through super lengthy procedure in the country.
Pune is the first city in the country to adopt the online verification process. The city handles about 15,000 passport verifications each month. That makes about 500 applications to 39 police stations every day. Going online would surely lessen this burden and make the work much more faster, and also convenient to the public.
According to suggestions by the police, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which is operating the project, has made some changes in the software to cut time taken in sending and uploading hard copies. DCP (foreigner’s registration office and special branch II) Sanjay Patil, who is also nodal officer for PVR, said, “We have been in touch with TCS and the passport office for the last eight months. We are now in the process of issuing tenders for acquiring the gadgets necessary for digital signatures and uploading documents.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very keen on fastening the passport procedure. Under the same light, he has directed the external affairs and home ministries to hold a joint workshop to examine ways and means to reduce time taken for various clearances so that processing of passport services can become quicker.
“We hope to have the online system for police verification in place by November. We expect the funding under CCTNS, which was not allocated any resources in this year’s budget, to be cleared after the PM returns from his foreign tour. It will take us another 3-4 months to integrate the databases and have the technical infrastructure in place,” a senior home ministry official said.
For now, the online check will be backed up by physical check, which might be a bit tedious, but the aim is fully eliminate the need for a doorstep check for all categories of passports. The applicants might yet have to wait to avail services of such convenience.
“The online integration of CCTNS with NPR, UID an EPIC will help SPs verify at the click of a mouse the photo, address and criminal history of the applicant. This may also be followed, as per the SP’s discretion, by a physical verification. Eventually, of course, the requirement of physical police verification will be totally done away with,” the official added.
This new service, though now planned for just passports, will not be limited to the same. Home ministry has various plans, which would extend these services to police verification of tenants, domestic servants, new government recruits and even to background checks of prospective employees by companies. How soon will these be put into practice is only for time to tell though!