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QUESTION NO.3213 USE OF BIOMETRIC DATA FOR ISSUANCE OF PASSPORTS

March 30, 2017

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.3213
TO BE ANSWERED ON 30.03.2017

USE OF BIOMETRIC DATA FOR ISSUANCE OF PASSPORTS

3213. SHRIMATI SAROJINI HEMBRAM:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government is planning to utilize the Aadhaar based biometric data of individuals to issue/renew passports in order to further ease the issuance of passports;

(b) if so, the details of such initiatives;

(c) whether Government has taken any other steps for easing issuance/renewal of passports to individuals, apart from that; and

(d) if so, the details thereof?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[GEN. (DR) V. K. SINGH (RETD)]

(a) & (b) The Ministry has integrated the Passport Seva System with the Aadhaar data base since August 2015 and has been utilizing the Aadhaar based bio-metrics for issuance of passport related services. The Aadhaar number of the passport applicant and bio-metric are validated with Aadhaar database to verify the authenticity of the Aadhaar Card being submitted by the applicants. The Aadhaar can be presented as Proof of Identity (PoI), Proof of Address (PoA) and proof of Date of Birth.

The Government has decided that normal passport applications of all first time applicants furnishing Aadhaar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), PAN Card and a self- affidavit of non-criminality in the prescribed format will be processed on Post-Police Verification basis, enabling faster issue of passport, without payment of any additional fees, subject to successful online validation of Aadhaar number.

(c) & (d) With the implementation of the Passport Seva Project, the process of passport issuance has become very transparent and easy. Under this system, the applicants are required to apply for their passports online, upload relevant documents, make the payment online through debit/credit card or SBI net-banking/SBI Challan, schedule an appointment and then visit the designated Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). A user friendly portal has been made available. When an applicant visits the PSK, an Electronic Queue Management System (EQMS) working on the principle of First-in First-out is available at all PSKs to monitor the flow of applicants. After completing the non-sovereign activities by the staff of the Service Provider, applicants move to the Passport Office staff for verification of documents and granting of passports. The shortcoming(s), if any, in the documentation, is conveyed to the applicant there itself. Exit letter giving position of the application ensuring fairness is provided to the applicant at the time of exit. The applicants can track the status of their applications themselves through portal and also SMS services. In the current system of passport issuance, there is no manual intervention at any stage, and the complete process is digitally flown with re-engineered process through a single visit clearance.

The following additional steps have been taken by the Government to further simplify the mechanism of issuing passports:

(A) Police Verification: Police Verification of applicants’ particulars plays an important role in timely dispatch of passports. The Ministry as well as the Passport Offices continue to engage closely with the Police Departments across States/Union Territories and with concerned Home Departments to reduce time taken in police verification.

(B) The Government had set up 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) across the country till May 2014. 13 more PSK have been established since May 2014 and 3 more PSKs at Udaipur, Siliguri and Solapur are scheduled to be inaugurated shortly.

(C) The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Department of Posts (DOP) announced on 24 January, 2017 their decision to utilize the Head Post Offices (HPO) in the various States as Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) for delivering passport related services to the citizens of the country. The objective of this partnership is to extend passport services on a larger scale and to ensure wider area coverage. The pilot projects for this joint venture between MEA and DOP was inaugurated on 25 January, 2017 at the Post Offices at Mysuru in Karnataka and at Dahod in Gujarat. The Government has now decided to set up a total number of 86 POPSK in the country, out of which 24 are already operational as on 27th March, 2017.

(D) With a view to meet heavy and seasonal demand for passport services, Passport Melas are organized on weekends from time to time by Passport Offices.

(E) Passport Seva Camps:- In order to provide closer and speedier passport services to people located far away from PSKs, Passport Seva Camps are being organized at various locations in the country.

(F) Passport Adalats, on need basis, are also conducted by Passport Offices to redress passport service grievances by dealing with citizens directly.

(G) Securing online Appointments for submission of passport applications at PSKs has been made easier and convenient. The new provision is allowing applicants to choose any appointment date from the earliest five available dates (working days) for scheduling/rescheduling an appointment for passport related services. Earlier, the System used to offer only one available date to the applicant for seeking appointment for passport related services.

(H) In order to further streamline, liberalize and ease the process of issue of passport, the Ministry of External Affairs announced a number of steps on 23 December, 2016 in the realm of passport policy which is expected to benefit the citizens of India applying for a passport. The details of these steps are given below:-

Documents in support of proof of Date of Birth

As per the extant statutory provisions of the Passport Rules, 1980, all the applicants born on or after 26/01/1989, in order to get a passport, had to, hitherto, mandatorily submit the Birth Certificate as the proof of Date of Birth (DOB). It has now been decided that all applicants of passports can submit any one of the following documents as the proof of DOB while submitting the passport application:

(i) Birth Certificate (BC) issued by the Registrar of Births & Deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other prescribed authority whosoever has been empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969 to register the birth of a child born in India;

(ii) Transfer/School leaving/Matriculation Certificate issued by the school last attended/recognized educational board containing the DOB of the applicant;

(iii) PAN Card issued by the Income Tax Department with the DOB of applicant;

(iv) Aadhaar Card/E-Aadhaar having the DOB of applicant;

(v) Copy of the extract of the service record of the applicant (only in respect of Government servants) or the Pay Pension Order (in respect of retired Government Servants), duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the Administration of the concerned Ministry/Department of the applicant, having his DOB;

(vi) Driving license issued by the Transport Department of concerned State Government, having the DOB of applicant;

(vii) Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India having the DOB of applicant;

(viii) Policy Bond issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations/Companies having the DOB of the holder of the insurance policy.

Other Changes

(i) The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, i.e., only one parent and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.

(ii) The total number of Annexes prescribed in the Passport Rule, 1980, has been reduced to 9 from the present 15. Annexes A, C, D, E, J, and K have been removed and certain Annexes have been merged.

(iii) All the annexes that are required to be given by the applicants would be in the form of a self- declaration on a plain paper. No attestation/swearing by/before any Notary/Executive Magistrate/First Class Judicial Magistrate would be henceforth necessary.

(iv) Married applicants would not be required to provide the erstwhile Annexure K or any marriage certificate.

(v) The passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.

(vi) Orphaned children who do not have any proof of DOB such as Birth Certificate or the Matriculation Certificate or the declaratory Court order, may now submit a declaration given by the Head of the Orphanage/Child Care Home on their official letter head of the organization confirming the DOB of the applicant.

(vii) In case of children not born out of wedlock, the applicant for the passport of such children should submit only extant Annexure C while submitting the passport application.

(viii) In case of issue of passport to in-country domestically adopted children, submission of the registered adoption deed would no longer be required. In the absence of any deed to this effect, the passport applicant may give a declaration on a plain paper confirming the adoption.

(ix) Government servants, who are not able to obtain the Identity Certificate (extant Annexure-A)/ No-Objection Certificate (extant Annexure-G) from their concerned employer and intend to get the passport on urgent basis can now get the passport by submitting a self-declaration in extant Annexure-‘H’ that he/she has given prior Intimation Letter to his/her employer informing that he/she was applying for an ordinary passport to a Passport Issuing Authority.

(x) Sadhus/ Sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual Guru mentioned in the passport application in lieu of their biological parent(s) name(s) subject to their providing of at least one public document such as Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India, PAN card, Aadhaar Card, etc wherein the name of the Guru has been recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s).

GSR 1170(E) and 1171(E) dated 26.12.2016 and other executive instructions have been issued bringing into force these changes with effect from 26 December, 2016.

These measures have simplified the process of issuance and renewal of passports to the individuals.

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