External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said that the government was continuously working towards taking passport services virtually to the doorsteps of citizens residing even in remote villages.
Declaring open a Post Office Passport Service Kendra (POPSK) in the country, she said her Ministry was adopting a citizen-centric approach for passport services.
“We are committed to simplifying the entire process of passport services with a view to processing all applications in a speedy and transparent manner and have taken a series of reforms,” she said.
Part of this simplification process was the recent decision to do away with printing the last page in passports, she said.
Ms Swaraj said her ministry has also decided to offer 10 per cent reduction in passport application fee for children below 8 years of age and senior citizens.
She further said passport seva kendras in the country had last year processed 19 per cent more passport applications compared to the previous year.
“The Karaikal head post office is the 60th POPSK of the total of 236 to be launched throughout the country,” she said.
The launch of POPSKs was part of a joint scheme with the Department of Posts to extend passport related services on a larger scale and ensure wider area coverage, by utilising Head Post Offices as “Post Office Passport Seva Kendra” (POPSK), she said.
Earlier, she handed over the exit token to the first applicant who applied for passport at passport seva kendra.
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said his government was ready to allot land to construct a separate building for Karaikal passport seva kendra and urged Ms Swaraj to expand the Karaikal seva facility.
He also said that the Karaikal passport seva kendra would benefit the neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu too.
Thanking Sushma Swaraj for taking action to retrieve boats seized by Sri Lankan Navy from Karaikal fishermen, he urged her to organise tripartite talks among governments of India, Sri Lanka and Indian fishermen to find a permanent solution to the frequent arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Earlier, a group of fisher-women from 10 hamlets in Karaikal met Sushma Swaraj and submitted a memorandum, appealing for steps to secure the release of 26 fishermen of Karaikal district, they said, are languishing in Sri Lankan prisons.
The Union minister is scheduled to visit Lord Saneeswara temple at Tirunallar in Karaikal district today.
Source by ndtv..