App for hassle-free passport issuance on the cards

The mobile application will also track the antecedents of applicants

App for hassle-free passport issuance on the cards
The Regional Passport Office (RPO), Bengaluru, is developing a mobile application for hassle-free passport issuance.

Also, it will make use of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System in the state to track the antecedents of applicants, Regional Passport Officer P S Karthigeyan said on Monday.

He was speaking at the release of Jana Mahiti Report-2016, prepared by city-based NGO Janagraha, which points to the corruption in getting the police verification done. The report, which was released by former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, claims that between 2010 and 2014, Rs 38.18 lakh was paid as bribe to policemen across India in 1,149 reported cases. The reports are based on complaints lodged on the website www.ipaidabribe.com and the figures could be much higher if every case is interviewed, claims Janagraha.

‘Lack of clarity’

In his presentation on the report, former Director General of Police S T Ramesh said there is lack of clarity on what police verification is.

“In the absence of a digital database of crimes and criminals, police verification is futile. A man from Bihar with criminal records can easily get a passport in Karnataka as there are no records available here, while we have not prepared any online database of criminals to get the information easily,” said Ramesh.

Karthigeyan said police verification is essential, but in many cases, passports were issued without verification. He said during 2010-14, about 26 lakh passports were issued and verification was not carried out in five lakh cases. He asked people to report to the Regional Passport Office, if they come across any case of bribery.

Panellists debated the issue of corruption and the ways to tackle it in India. Justice Hegde, in his speech, blamed the society for the rising corruption in India. He said people respect money and power and not honesty and integrity.

The former Lokayukta said, “Any amount of law cannot change the scenario. People have to realise that corruption is the product of greed.”

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