Filling up a passport form is not an easy task with all those minute details to be given repeatedly and accurately. What makes the matter worse is that any minor error on the applicant's behalf will render his application useless.
But not anymore. To remove the hassles concerning the filling up application forms for a passport and help, in particular, illiterate and people who cannot access or use the Internet, the passport department have announced deploying facilitators for the job.
To be deployed on each 77 Passport Sewa Kendras (PSKs), these people will help people in getting their applications right on the payment of Rs.100.It is pertinent to note here that the online system of application for a passport has been crumbling due to various reasons. The facilitators will be deployed from July. They will not only fill up the form but also fix up the appointment with the passport officer, online.
"The officers will be deputed at all 77 PSKs to help illiterate and technically challenged people in filling up their applications for passport. This will also help in keeping touts and agents away from the Passport Sewa Kendras," said additional secretary, ministry of external affairs, Basant K Gupta.
In more good news for passport seekers, they will now be able to apply on weekends as well with external affairs ministry contemplating on making Passport Mela a regular feature. The mela was launched on Saturday and was expected to continue on Sunday in view of the huge response. "The mela was organised today and will continue tomorrow as well. The response has been very good. If we continue getting such response, passport mela can be made a regular feature where applicants can submit their forms manually on weekends," Gupta said. On Saturday, around 3,000 applications were handled by the regional passport office at the Bikaji Cama place.
The passport officers, however, weren't happy working on the weekends. "These delays are because of the Tata Consultancy Services but if is us who have been asked to work on weekends. The TCS employees submit incomplete forms, which lead to cancellation of application causing inconvenience to the passport seekers. The old system was much more user-friendly than this new online system," said a member of all India passport officers association.
"We are short of at least 600 staff. But we will soon hire more people to augment strength and improve work," Gupta said.