Mumbai: Giving a new fillip to the ambitious drive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Digital India’ Programme, the process of passport verification has been made digital in Mumbai. Now the details of passport applicants are being stored in tablets for further verification.

The tedious process of passport verification has been fast-tracked in Mumbai, as each police station in SoBo and several other police stations covering a posh area of Mumbai is now equipped with one tablet in which the officer can fill up the forms quickly in the gadget with the subject to his senior subordinate to review the verification.

The police verification requests are transferred online to the concerned police station by the Regional Passport Office (RPO) after they get an online application for the passport. The pilot project soon will be come into force in all the police stations of Mumbai. A senior IPS officer told the Free Press Journal that the new process is helping officers to cut short the verification time.

“The process, which is operational for the last one month in the city especially in South Mumbai, will soon be adopted by all the police stations. Earlier, the police verification officer had to fill up the form on a piece of paper. But now the officer who visits the residential address of the applicant, feed their thumbprint as well as photo in the tablet,” he said.

The officer further added that the digitization has helped weeding out corruption with the elimination of middleman’s involvement. Also, it is giving much relief to senior citizens, women as well as children who earlier had to visit a police station to wait in a long queue for police verification for the passport.

“Earlier people, especially women and senior citizen, used to complain that they don’t have time to visit the police station to wait for a long queue for police verification. But the procedure is now easier and convenient. It is a win-win situation for verification officer as well as for the applicants,” added the officer, who added that now only the applicant has to visit police station once for the verification of his documents.

CCTNS linked to passport service

The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), crime-tracking network project that was the brainchild of former Home Minister P. Chidambaram, has been linked to the passport service of the External Affairs Ministry to replace physical police verification for passport applicants with online verification.

“We have the robust database of crimes and criminals of Mumbai to check the antecedents of applicants at the click of a mouse. The antecedents of passport applicants will be verified through CCTNS. We just check if the applicant has any history of crime in Mumbai police record,” said the officer. The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre has been roped in to provide enough safeguards for the safety of CCTNS database.

Credit: Diwakar Sharma| FreePressJournal

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