80 lakh passports to be issued this year: MEA official

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is expected to issue over 80 lakh passports this year as compared to 73.65 lakh in 2011.

"The Ministry rendered 73.65 lakh passports last year through Passport Offices in India and Missions/posts abroad and the projection this year is that the number will cross 8 million (80 lakh)," Joint Secretary (Passport Seva Project) and Chief Passport Officer Muktesh K Pardeshi said today.

He was speaking to reporters after inspecting the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Ameerpet here. The maximum number of passports were issued in Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, he said.

The Ministry has set up and operationalised 77 PSKs in the country under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode with IT firm TCS, Pardeshi said.

The total handling capacity of seven PSKs operational in Andhra Pradesh is 3,500 applications every day. This translates into more than 7.8 lakh applications a year against 6 lakh applications processed in 2011, the official said.

There is a proposal to open 13 more 'laghu' passport kendras (mini-PSKs) across the country. Two of them will come up in Andhra Pradesh - at Karimnagar and Bhimavaram, he said.

"The civil work is going on in Karimnagar while the site at Bhimavaram (West Godavari district) was yet to be finalised," Pardeshi said. To a query on plans to start issuing e-passports, Pardeshi said the tendering process for it was over and security clearance of the selected bidders was awaited from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

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