MEA partners with TCS for Passport Seva Programme, citizens to get e-Passports soon

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Passport Seva Programm

In a developmental move to further empower the citizen-friendly e-governance in the country, the Government of India is soon to roll out next-gen e-Passports for citizens. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Secretary, Sanjay Bhattacharyya took to Twitter announcing the development. In his tweet, the MEA Secretary mentioned that the Ministry has inked a pact with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and appointed them as the service provider for the citizen-friendly e-governance initiative of Passport Seva Programme (PSP v2.0).

He also listed a few benefits of the PSP-v2.0 namely better customer service at Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs), upgraded technology, secure digital and data-driven processes, integrate stakeholders.

The PSP-v2.0 is a continuation and enhancement of PSP-v1.0, an e-Governance instrument, which introduced unprecedented transformation in the delivery of passport related services to citizens. The focus was on timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable platform, accessed by citizens in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes; and a committed, trained and motivated workforce. The project design ensured that support functions like citizen interface, technology backbone, call centres, training and change management etc. were provided by the Service Provider, and the Government continued to exercise all sovereign and security-related functions in the passport issuance process.

Recognizing the need to continually improve the quality of Government to Citizen (G2C) services and the mantra of Good Governance via IT and digital media, the Passport Seva Programme would be embarking on technology upgrade with the use of Biometrics, Artificial Intelligence, Advance Data Analytics, Chat-Bot, Auto-response, Natural Language Processing, Cloud Enablement.

The issuance of e-Passports for enhanced customer satisfaction, increased security and the next level of citizen experience will also be unveiled in the upgraded PSP-V 2.0. The Passport Seva Programme is a citizen-centric e-governance platform. The attributes of being responsive, caring, considerate, and transparent would continue to be the guiding principle of the Passport Seva Programme.

The number of public dealing offices has increased across the country. Ministry is working towards the opening of a Seva Kendra in every Lok Sabha Constituency where there is no Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) or Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK). As of date, 93 PSKs, 428 POPSKs and 36 Passport Offices are operational. The Programme has recently been connected to more than 176 Indian Missions / Posts through Global Passport Seva Programme (GPSP), providing seamless delivery of passport services to the Indian diaspora.

What is PSP-v2.0?

The key elements of PSP-v2.0 are setting up of a state-of-art digital ecosystem, process overhauling and integration among various stakeholders and database, improving citizen interface, upgrading technology, adopting best practices and strengthening data security.

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Security aspects, including strategic assets such as Data Centres, Database and Application Software will be owned by the Government. There would be strict access controls across the system, incorporating biometrics. On the digital front, the programme envisages a Data Centre, Disaster Recovery Centre and Government Secure Repository networked to all PSKs/POPSKs, Passport Offices and also to Indian Missions/Posts aboard, an electronic file system for passport processing running across the passport issuance ecosystem and 24x7x365 monitoring and supervision through state-of-art Network Operation Centre (NOC) and Security Operation Centre (SOC).

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