People who wanted to renew their passports had to go through a fresh round of police verification, a repeat of the hassle they had to experience when they applied the first time.
Such verification will no longer be required, and can cut down processing time by a fortnight. "For re-issue of passports, police verification is not required, provided the first passport had been issued on the basis of clear police report," said VK Singh, minister of state for external affairs, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
It was unclear if verification would be still continue for those who shifted residences between getting their first passport and subsequent renewal application.
Police verification involves the visit of a police officer to the address mentioned in the passport application. There is little certainty about the timing of such visits, and there have been several cases where applicants were asked for bribes.
The government is also working to shorten delivery time to just a week for first-time applicants of a passport, which can take close a month except for 'Tatkaal' or fast-tracked applications that require an additional fee. Singh said that the process has become more efficient. “It is a fact that with the overall improvement in delivery of passport services, the incidence of Tatkaal passport is coming down progressively from 11 per cent in 2012-13 to six per cent in 2014-15," he said.
The Home Ministry is working to install a system of online police verification, that would allow passports to be delivered within a week to first-time applicants. Bangalore will be the first city where this system will be implemented in November.