Good News! Indian passports to be in both Hindi, English; cheaper for kids under 8, senior citizens
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 24-Jun-2017

New Delhi, June 24: The External Affairs Ministry while celebrating the completion of 50 years of the Passport Act 1967 in New Delhi announced 10 percent rebate on passport fee for applicants who are either older than 60 years or younger than eight years.

Notably, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while addressing the Passport Day function made the announcement of providing 10 percent rebate on passport fee for applicants who are either older than 60 years or younger than eight years. The Minister also said that from now onwards the passports will be available in English and Hindi, adding that necessary instructions have been given to Nashik Printing Press.

Minister Swaraj said, "In the recent past the number of senior citizens applying for the passport has increased. Therefore, I announce rebate of 10 percent on passport fee for applicants older than 60 years and children below eight years. The rebate will be applicable from tomorrow i.e from Saturday onwards."

She said that the ministry has been making efforts to make passport process easier. "Now, we have decided that an applicant can submit either pan card or ration card along with Aadhar card and Voter ID on a seself-attestedeclaration of having no criminal record to get the passport," said Swaraj.

She said the decision has been taken after it was found that people living in villages could not submit Pan Card as generally t, ey do not have one. Earlier, Pan Card, Voter ID Card and Aadhaar Card were necessary to get p the ssport. The Minister also said that from now onwards the passports will be available in English and Hindi, adding that necessary instructions have been given to Nashik Printing Press.

She said that under Passport Aapkey Dwar (Passport at your doorsteps) scheme, the ministry is working to ensure that an applicant is not required to travel more than 50 kilometers. "The mapping of the post offices is being done for the same," Swaraj said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Department of Posts (DOP) have decided to utilise the Head Post Offices (HPO)/ Post Offices in the country as Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) for delivery of passport related services.

In the first phase, it has been decided to open 86 POPSKs in the country. FiFifty-twoOPSKs have become functional. MEA and DOP are working closely for the operationalization of passport related services at the remaining 34 POPSK in the first phase.

"We have now decided to open another 149 POPSK to take the total number of POPSK to 235 in the country. With the addition of 235 POPSK, the total number of Passport Seva Kendras including POPSK will be 251, an auspicious number," Swaraj said.

Swaraj also assured the passport department officials that their interests would not be compromised in the backdrop of government's decision to open POPSKs. “I take this opportunity to request you to rededicate yourself to our Government’s commitment to the principle of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’ and work towards putting in place more inclusive and robust mechanisms to achieve our objectives,” Swaraj added.

The breakup of 149 POPSKs is: 07 in Andhra Pradesh, 02 in Arunachal Pradesh, 09 in Assam, 09 in Bihar, 02 in Chhattisgarh, 08 in Gujarat, 07 in Haryana, 03 in Himachal Pradesh, 03 in Jammu and Kashmir, 03 in Jharkhand, 07 in Karnataka, 02 in Kerala, 09 in Madhya Pradesh, 11 in Maharashtra, 02 in Meghalaya, 03 in Odisha, 05 in Punjab, 01 in Puducherry, 11 in Rajasthan, 11 in Tamil Nadu, 05 in Telangana, 03 in Uttarakhand, 19 in Uttar Pradesh, 04 in West Bengal and 03 in Delhi.