Passport Seva Project
Getting a passport would soon become easier with lower processing time and online filing. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) signed a Rs 1,000-crore, six-year deal with the external affairs ministry to implement the Passport Seva Project that envisages issuance of new passports within three working days and a ‘tatkal’ one the same day, after police verification. The project, which would also allow online filing of passport applications, is the largest mission mode project under the National E-Governance Programme.TCS had won the Rs 1,000-crore contract from the external affairs ministry, beating competitors such as Wipro and Spanco.“This project reiterates TCS’ commitment to help government deliver citizen services more efficiently through technology and process improvements,” CEO and MD S Ramadorai said. The Passport Seva Project involves setting up of 77 new passport filing centres, called Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs), and increasing the number of passport counters from the current 345 to 1,250. While the pilots would be operational in Bangalore and Chandigarh by June 2009, the national rollout would be complete by the first week of January 2010. TCS would work with other technology providers such as Adobe, IBM, Nortel, EMC, CMC and Tata Teleservices to deploy the infrastructure at the PSKs.Currently, only about 3.5% of Indian citizens hold a passport. The Central Passport Organisation issued 50 lakh passports in 2007 and the number is expected to cross one crore by 2011. The external affairs ministry would set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to manage the passport project. All fiduciary services such as verification, grant and dispatch of the passport would be done by the ministry. TCS would be responsible for setting up a data centre, disaster recovery centre, networking between all passport offices and ensuring an online passport filing system. It would also set up a network connecting the police with the passport offices to ensure quick movement of verification information. A call centre would also be set up to answer queries about the process or status of a passport application. The external affairs ministry had signed a letter of intent with TCS in July this year after a bidding process involving five other companies including Wipro, 3i Infotech and Spanco.
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