Hyderabad passport office pulls it off: Ashwini Sattaru

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Ashwini Sattaru, Regional Passport Officer, Hyderabad

Hyderabad Regional Passport Office stood at the top in the country for issuing highest number of passports. This record could be achieved due to multiple initiatives technology applications and of course those extra hours put in by the staff, says Hyderabad, Regional Passport Officer, Ashwini Sattaru, in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN)

Can you throw light on the initiatives and approach that the Hyderabad passport office undertook in disposing of the highest number of passports?

Highest number of passport disposals could be achieved due to multiple reasons, one of them being the reduction of police verification time from two weeks to three days through introduction of revolutionary smart-police-verification concept by police here. Another reason is our two-pronged approach in reaching out to people through special passport camps in remote villages, institutions, introduction of ‘Zero Refusal’ concept through ‘On Hold’ appointments and special category consideration for students. Through this, we could issue 6.95 lakh passports against the total 7.17 lakh applications received in 2014. It was a 13 per cent growth compared to 6.32 lakh passports issued against 6.56 lakh applications received in 2013. Furthermore, it is the paperless procedure that proved to be a great help.

Can you elaborate on ‘Zero Refusal’ concept through ‘On Hold’ appointments and special category consideration for students?

Several passport applicants with valid appointments face tough time in Passport Seva Kendra’s (PSKs) when they turn up with incomplete documents, as the process cannot be completed with deficient documents. Now, through ‘On Hold’ appointments, such applicants can schedule an appointment then and there. They will be given a computer-generated token that validates an option to submit the missing documents within one year from the date of registration.

Under special consideration for students, those migrating to Hyderabad from their villages and towns are issued passports based on the submission of their college certificates. They need not submit their residence proof, we verify it from their colleges.

Tell us more about your team’s outreach in remote villages and institutions.

Passport being one of the valid national identity documents, several citizens wanted their passport documents to be done, but they do not turn up at PSKs due to various reasons. Since many from rural areas emigrate to the UAE, the US and other countries for employment, we could reach them by organising camps and passport melas. Prior campaigning is also done through various mass media including radio, newspapers and other modes of campaigning. We got immense response to our camps. We could cover remote villages in Adilabad, Medak, Karimnagar and Kuppam districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Further, we are also covering certain national and state institutions where the employees cannot make it for passports due to their work schedule. We also get requests from the institutions asking to organise camps for them. We have covered Indian Air Force, Hakimpet; ISRO at Sriharikota; and police departments in different parts of Andhra and Telangana. These camps are not only proving to be of great convenience to the people, but also saving a lot of money. The administration of ISRO, Sriharikota, has estimated that our passport camp at their institution saved about `20 lakh of their employees in the form of transport, stay and other charges.

Since most of the procedures for passport application have gone online, have you taken steps for those who are illiterate and not computer-literate?

Due to online procedures, involvement of touts is confined to filling applications. As for the illiterates and computer-illiterates, eSeva/Mee Seva service centers are helping in registration of passport application at a nominal price. Also, this facility will soon be available in post offices as the MEA is in talks with the Department of Posts.

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