According to the Government data, a total of 1.05 crore passports were issued in 2015, up 24.3% from 84.72 lakh issued in 2014. In the states, number of passports issued in Uttar Pradesh more than doubled from 2013 to 2015. Goa, Kerala, Delhi & Punjab topped the list when the number of passports issued is normalized for population.
Introduction of the Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in 2010 has greatly reduced the time taken to get a passport issued. This is evident from the increasing number of passports issued every year. In 2015 alone, 1.05 crore passports were issued in the country, making it 9 passports issued for every 1000 population. This is 24.3% more than the 84.72 lakh passports issued in 2014.
Number of Passports issued on the rise
The number of passports issued in a calendar year crossed the 1 crore mark for the first time in 2015, where 1.05 crore passports were issued. In 2013, 71.02 lakh passports were issued while in 2014, 84.72 lakh passports were issued. From 6 passports issued for every 1000 population in 2013, it went up to 9 passports for every 1000 population in 2015.
Number of Passports issued in UP more than double from 2013 to 2015
Of the states, the more populous states had more passports issued except for states like Bihar, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh etc. The number of passports issued in Uttar Pradesh more than doubled from 6.08 lakh in 2013 to 13.36 lakh in 2015. In Maharashtra, the number rose from 8.04 lakh in 2013 to 11.87 lakh in 2015. Kerala has been consistently in the top despite a lower population. From 9.47 lakh passports issued in 2013, the number went up to 11.44 lakh in 2015 for Kerala. Other states like Gujarat, Punjab, Tamil Nadu also saw a substantial growth. The impact of bifurcation was evident on both the States of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. From 7.75 lakh passports in 2013, the number in Andhra Pradesh went down to 4.52 lakh in 2015. This is due to the fact that bifurcation of the state took place in mid 2014. The number of passports issued in Telangana, on the other hand went up from 2.81 lakh in 2014 to 5.38 lakh in 2015.
Goa, Kerala, Delhi & Punjab on top
If the number of passports issued is normalized for population, then Goa, Kerala, Delhi & Punjab rule the roost. In Goa, 33.18 passports were issued for every 1000 population in 2013 which went down slightly in 2014 and again went up to 35.39 in 2015. In Kerala, this number went up from 28.38 in 2013 to 34.27 in 2015. Delhi saw this number going up from 18.8 in 2013 to 22.93 in 2015. In the case of Punjab, it went up from 16.49 in 2013 to a whopping 25.81 in 2015. Fifteen States/UTs were above the national average while the rest of them were below the national average. States like Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha & Chhattisgarh were in the bottom 10.
Two new steps to expedite the issue of Passports
As a part of the continuous efforts to expedite the process of issuing passports, the Ministry of External Affairs has announced two major changes in the process for first time passport applicants.
- The first major change is that the first time passport applicants who furnish Aadhaar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), PAN Card and an affidavit in a specified format will get faster service without payment of any additional fees, subject to successful online validation of Aadhaar and EPIC and PAN Cards.
- The second measure pertains to securing online Appointments for submission of passport applications at PSKs. The new provision allows applicants to choose any appointment date from the earliest five available dates for scheduling/rescheduling an appointment for Passport related services. Earlier, the System used to offer only one available date to the applicants for seeking appointment.
It has to be noted that no extra charge will be levied for these two changes. Currently, there are 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in various States/Union Territories. Additionally, 19 additional Passport Seva Laghu Kendras (PSLKs) are being established out of which 10 are already functional.