One of the biggest drawbacks of obtaining a new Indian passport or even just getting an old one renewed is the extended amount of time it takes to process the application. One of the bottle necks within the process is a mandatory police verification of the residential address and the past criminal records of the applicant. Thanks to a new online version initiated by the Modi government, this should be done a lot quicker than the one month it took earlier.
Starting November, 2017 applicants can request for an online background check required by the Passport office for new as well as renewable passports. This is made possible due to a new Government initiative wherein the head of the district police now has access to national databases that include biometric data, photographs, and addresses of the applicants collected from Aadhaar cards, National Population Registry and the latest, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS).
What are the primary advantages of the online police verification?
- Saves Time: Dues to quick access to background information, the police verification should not take more than week as opposed to a month.
- Efficient Process: Given that all this data is now available in one common database with the police authorities, it streamlines the entire procedure and is made available at a click of a button.
- Tracking and following of criminals: Since the CCTNS assimilates data from several national and local security organizations, law enforcement officials can track a criminal’s movements and take appropriate measures when it comes to releasing a passport.
- Saves resources: Doing away with the long process of transferring background verification requests from the Passport Seva Kendra to the District Superintendent of Police to the local police station and then finally finding personnel to make personal visits to the applicant’s home for verification is a plus in eliminating wastefulness of resources. A click of a button on the computer will tell the police everything about the applicant’s biometric and criminal antecedents.
- Comprehensive Data: CCTNS connects close to 14,000 police stations around the country and hosts data for crimes and criminals on it. This allows for a one stop shop for all information to make a determination regarding passports.
- Mobile Devices allow for real-time updations: Should there be a requirement to investigate further, police personnel can meet with the applicant at his registered address and update their findings on an available mobile device which is connected to the central database.
In addition, renewing of passports will not require a police verification process provided the original one was issued with a clean record. Else, real time updating of the system is made possible by the available mobile devices. Going forward, central databases will be made available to other legitimate activities like employee background checks, tenant and domestic help verifications as well as open it up to foreign embassies to check backgrounds before indulging in any cross-country business.
Path2USA.com talks about other new initiatives undertaken by the government to streamline the passport process further.