Getting a passport will no longer mean a long wait or bribing the middlemen, with the introduction of a new regime of relaxed rules and regulations.
For starters, the renewal application for an expired or about-to-expire passport is to be cleared in just two days. The application will be subjected to preliminary checks at the concerned passport office based on the information furnished in the old passport. Once such checks are through, the applicant will be provided a new passport valid for two years.
This will be followed by detailed checks mandated by rules so that the process is completed after thorough verification. It may take a month or so depending on the nature of investigations.
Once all necessary inquiries are completed, the applicant will be provided a renewed passport valid for 10 years — through speed post. The renewed two-year-valid passport issued earlier will automatically stand cancelled.
As for fresh passport applications, preliminary investigations are expected to be completed within 15 days, leading to the release of a passport valid for two years. This will be followed by checks — more detailed compared to renewal cases. Once the checks are completed in letter and spirit, the applicants will be provided with a passport valid for 10 years.
Documentation to be tagged to the application will also be decreased in tandem with Election Commission norms for issuance of voter ID-cards.
That apart, police officers will be directed to keep a tab on all applicants residing in their areas, to be put up on the passport office website on a daily basis. As against reacting to passport office queries, the police will be expected to respond on their own and inform the passport office of their reservations on a particular applicant, if any.
Top government sources said that the initiative to streamline the system had been undertaken at the behest of the Prime Minister, who is keen to clean up the existing process. A committee of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chutervedi has already finalised the new passport regime.