India is known to be the third highest country in the world in terms of passport issuance, after China and the US. The numbers have doubled since 2010. In fact, from 60 lakh passports holders in 2010, the numbers had reached 1.2 crores in 2015.
What is the reason for this sudden surge in numbers?
There were times when people would have to stand in long queues under the scorching sun to get a chance of entering the Passport Office. There have been several instances when applicants had to visit the Passport repeatedly in order to get the work done. Some applicants even recall having bribed the employees of the Passport Office to find their file faster and ensure speedy processing of their application. It was a terribly tedious process that tested the patience of Indian citizens.
However, in the modern world, nobody has the time or patience to wait for an eternity for a document. Moreover, the system of issuing passports was indeed quite archaic and highly incompetent. Thankfully, the Indian Government realized this problem and took action in 2014-15. The annual report for MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) in 2014-15 led to the inception of the passport website as well as some other dynamic changes which led to the growth in the number of passport issuance.
During 2014 and 2015, the Indian government launched its online Passport Seva portal called the passportindia.gov.in. It was mainly meant for people who require passport services as well as other helpful details to ease the troubles and make the procedure less time-consuming. Its main focus was on status inquiries and application procedures. The website allowed the citizens to enjoy the anytime-anywhere access to passport-related information. This government portal was further improved and Passport Seva Kendras were opened throughout the country to declutter the complicated procedure and help reduce the workload of the Passport Offices.
The website is regularly monitored and updated at frequent intervals, in order to ensure a user-friendly platform for the customers. Information is available in Hindi and in English. New information is constantly added to keep the citizens updated on important changes in the procedures, rules and policies.
After the PSKs were opened, the entire application process sped up and the appointment slots for passport applications went up to 50,000 per day. Eventually, the police verification process was also systematized and even digitized in several locations. As new flourishing ideas are being implemented, the number of passports being issued in India is multiplying.