At New Delhi,India,on October 13th 2008,Tata Consultancy Services announced that it has a signed a deal with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, for the Passport Automation Project – the largest mission-critical E-governance project valued at over Rs.10,000 million. After implementation of the Project which will be managed end-to-end by TCS, the Ministry expects the process of issuing a new passport to be completed in three working days, while passports issued under the Tatkal scheme will be dispatched on the same day, subject to address and police verifications of applicants. The Master Service Agreement was signed between representatives of TCS and the MEA in New Delhi today.
The project cost is valued over Rs.10,000 million and the project will be implemented within a Buy-Own-Operate-Transfer or BOOT framework with pilot project operation within 19 months. The countrywide roll-out of the Passport Automation Project will take place within six years and the Government will open 77 Passport Filing Centers across the country in a phased manner. TCS will have end-to-end responsibility of implementing this project.
Speaking on the occasion, Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs said: “The Passport Seva Project, based on a public-private partnership model, aims to provide passport-related services to Indian citizens in a speedy, convenient and transparent manner. The sovereign and fiduciary function of granting and issuing passport remains with MEA and TCS will be our technology and operations partner in this project”
S Ramadorai, CEO and Managing Director, TCS said, “We believe that this mission mode project of national importance will make delivery of passport services truly world class in nature. This project reiterates TCS' commitment to help government deliver citizen services more efficiently through technology and process improvements and will transform passport service delivery to the citizens of India.”
Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Vice President, Global Government Business Group, TCS said: “After the successful implementation of the MCA-21 program, the Passport Seva Project will enable citizens to enjoy the benefits of a technology-led, service oriented approach to passports while ensuring that the proper security, safety and safeguards are maintained.”
The Passport Automation Project would digitize passport services and allow online filing of applications. Applicants will have the alternative option of filling the Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR)-enabled form which along with all relevant documents will be scanned and submitted at Passport Facilitation Centers (PFCs). The PFCs will be the primary hubs supporting all activities including biometric capture, photograph, payment and verification and issue of passports in the presence of applicants for most cases. The passports will be dispatched in three days in case police verification is not required or post-issue police verification is required based on passport issuance regulations. Complete tracking of the process would be possible in the system. Police nodal offices will be facilitated by TCS personnel and it will be possible to download passport forms there directly, thus eliminating any logistic delay. A call center would be established to help the applicants with information regarding passport procedures and the status of submitted requests. Grievances would be tracked and closed.