Charges for getting a new passport made is set to rise in line with a speedy delivery of the same to the Indian citizens. The Ministry of External Affairs has signed up a contract estimated at Rs 1,000 crore with leading Information Technology firm Tata Consultancy Services to digitise the application process.
Applicants will be able to file their applications online and even the process of police verification will take place on the Internet. Applicants can expect to have fresh passports issued within three days and on the same day under the ‘Tatkal’ scheme. All this, though is set to come at a price.
“There would be some kind of a revision of fee, you will get to know about it through a notification,” said R Swaminathan, joint secretary, Ministry of External Affairs. The Ministry would pay TCS a service charge on a quarterly basis. “Studies have shown that citizens were willing to pay additional money, provided you get a better service. In our view citizens would be happy to pay additional money.” However, he did not specify how much exactly the cost increase would be.
At present, applicants have to pay Rs 1000 as the passport fee while those applying under the ‘Tatkal’ scheme have to pay an additional Rs 1,500.
“TCS would get about Rs 199 per passport as the service charge,” said Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice president & head – global government industry group at TCS.
The Ministry of External Affairs would set up pilot centres in Bangalore and Chandigarh by March 2009 and a total of 77 passport filing centres (PFCs) are expected to be set up by January 2010. The MEA has proposed to increase the number of public dealing counters from the existing 345 to 1,250.