The Central Government in India is planning to fully implement e-passports in the country by 2013, according to Minister of State for External Affairs E.Ahmed. He was talking to reporters after inaugurating new facilities at the Thiruvananthapuram Passport Office on Friday.
At present there are about 35 lakh passports in the country. The government is considering whether they could be converted into e-passports in a phased manner or at one go, he said.
Ahmed said that efforts were being made to minimise the delay in issuing passports. As a result, the delay in issuing passports after getting police verification report could be brought down to almost 'zero' in Thiruvananthapuram, he said.
The new facilities include a touch screen passport information kiosk, an electronically-controlled token and queue management system, an automatic telephone inquiry system and a television at the public hall.
The touch screen helps to know the current status of passport applications. The queues at various counters could be eliminated with the help of the queue management system.
The automatic telephone inquiry system helps one to know the status of passport applications over phone either in English or Malayalam or Hindi. The phone numbers of the system are