The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has drawn up ambitious plans of opening post office Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in 650 districts across the country soon.
Disclosing this during the inauguration of a post office PSK here on Wednesday, MEA Secretary D.M. Mulay said the MEA was planning to collaborate with the Department of Posts by opening PSKs at district level across the country to meet the growing demand for passports. The demand for passports in India, which is around 2 crore a year, was the third highest in the world after China and the U.S. A total of 60,000 passports are issued every day in the country, he added.
While there are a total of 89 PSKs in the country, the first two post office PSKs were opened at the Metagalli Post office in Mysuru and the Head Post office at Dahod in Gujarat in pilot mode on Wednesday.
Usha Chandrashekar, member, Postal Services Board, who was also present at the inauguration, said the postal officials will be processing the applications for verification of documents and obtaining the photographs and biometrics of the applicants at the post office PSKs.
The Department of Posts, which was earlier only handling posts, has also been handling a variety of other services, including delivering e-commerce parcels, insurance, social security products, and agricultural seeds. Now, it will be handling delivery of passport-related services in an IT-enabled manner, she added.
Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who inaugurated the post office PSK in Mysuru, hoped that all the districts of the country will have a PSK in one year’s time and appreciated Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s initiative in the regard.
Pratap Simha, MP, recalled that the demand for a PSK for Mysuru was the first issue on which he had spoken in the Parliament after his election. He revealed that the decision to start a post office PSK in Mysuru from Wednesday was taken only last Friday and appreciated the officials of the Regional Passport Office, Bengaluru, led by RPO P.S. Karthigeyan for making the necessary arrangements in quick time.