CHENNAI: Soon there will be a smart way to apply for passports. The ministry of external affairs is in the final stages of launching an app that will allow people to apply and pay the fees for passports on their mobile phones.
The new app will be an upgraded version of mPassport Seva that is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. mPassport Seva currently allows users to find general information, locate nearest passport centre and police station, calculate fees and track the status of applications. More features like provision to file application and pay fees will be added to it.
“The facility to help applicants fill passports and make payment through the app should be available in one to one-and-a-half months,” said Golok Kumar Simli, principal consultant and head (technology), ministry of external affairs. Applicants will be able to log in, file the application and track its status but will have to carry hard copies of the documents required to the passport seva kendra after an ARN number is generated and an appointment fixed, he said. Citing security concerns, he, however, refused to explain how the app will work.
Simli said it was being developed by Tata Consultancy ServicesBSE 0.47 % which will hand it over to MEA. The development team, comprising 30-40 people, is simultaneously working on other MEA projects. It is part of the Passport Seva Project, which is executed by consular, passport and visa (CPV) division of MEA, and aims at providing passport services to everyone in a speedy and transparent manner.
Applicants appeared elated about the plan. “Presently, even getting an online appointment is a struggle. With the new app, more people will begin applying and I don’t think the system will have network issues.”
A top official at the regional passport office in the city said they had received a communication about the technical wing working on the new app. “It remains to be seen whether there will be issues on connectivity and network,” he said.