Unbelievable! Renewed passport received within 2 days!

On May 3, 2014, while submitting fresh KYC documents to my bank, I saw that my passport, which I had used as Identity Proof, was due to expire on May 26, 2014. I was petrified by the thought of visiting the Passport Office to get my passport renewed because of my harrowing experience when I had last renewed my passport 10 years back. However, I realized that I had no choice but to undergo the experience once again if I wanted to renew my passport.

That evening, I obtained an appointment for Re-issue of Passport for the earliest available date, coincidentally May 26, 2014, by e-Form Submission at the Ministry of External Affairs website. I took less than an hour to fill up the e-Form, Register, pay the Fee, schedule the appointment and print the Application Receipt.

The Ministry of External Affairs website, maintained by a private IT company, is extremely user-friendly, even to a first-time visitor. For example, after uploading the e-Form, I found that I had made a mistake while filling up the e-Form. However, I could correct the mistake in a minute.

The Application Receipt clearly mentioned the PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) address, Date & Time of Appointment, Reporting Time (15 minutes before Time of Appointment), and general instructions such as documents to be submitted, accompanying person (one person allowed only with each Senior Citizen, Physically Challenged, Illiterate or Minor applicant) and items that can be carried by the applicant inside the PSK.

Since a friend had advised me that parking could be a problem, I used public transport and reached the PSK about 15 minutes before Reporting Time. I realised I had made the correct choice when I saw two persons, who could not get parking space for their self-driven cars, having to park their cars about half a kilometre away and walk back to the PSK.

All persons having the same Time of Appointment as mine were allowed to enter the PSK after their Application Receipts were checked. The PSK was unlike any other Government office that I have visited. It was centrally air conditioned and the décor and ambience was like that of any large private sector company. Sufficient seating was available in the waiting areas inside the PSK. There was a drinking water cooler, a counter where snacks and hot/cold beverages could be bought at reasonable prices, and washrooms. I was particularly impressed that there was a photocopying machine available, where applicants who had inadvertently missed submitting photocopies of any documents could get the missed copies made @ Re. 1 per copy.

The entire process, consisting of documents verification, issuing of tokens, capturing and uploading of documents, photograph, fingerprints and thumbprints, entering of data to be printed on the new passport, payment of additional fees (I had to pay Rs. 30 since I had opted for Passport Seva SMS Service), final re-verification of uploaded documents and data entered, cancellation of old passport, and issuing of Acknowledgement Letter was over in 80 minutes.

Only the final re-verification of uploaded documents and data entered, and cancellation of old passport was done by the Government officials. Everything else was done by employees of the same private IT company that manages the website. All persons (Government employees and the IT company’s employees) worked efficiently and interacted pleasantly, but in a business-like manner with all applicants.

15 minutes after I left the PSK, I received an SMS saying, “Passport printing initiated for your File No. XYZ. You will receive SMS once your passport is printed.” (An hour earlier, as soon as I had paid the fee for Passport Seva SMS Service, I had received an SMS saying, “Thanks for opting Passport Seva SMS Services. You will receive updates on your File No. XYZ through SMS.”)

At 9.00 pm the next day, I received an SMS saying, “Passport printed for your File No. XYZ. You will receive SMS once it is dispatched by speed post.” 10 minutes later, I received an SMS saying, “Passport No. ABC dispatched today and can be tracked using Speed Post Tracking No. ET123PQR789IN”.

At 4.00 pm the next day, a little over 48 hours after I had left the PSK, my new passport was delivered by Speed Post.

10 years back, passport renewal had been a harrowing experience!
This time, it was an unbelievably pleasant experience that increased my optimism that India can and will change for the better! Some changes can be brought about by the government. Other changes can be brought about by the people. But, almost all changes can be brought about. About that, I have no doubt. I know it’s easier said than done. But if we have the will, we will find a way.

19 thoughts on “Unbelievable! Renewed passport received within 2 days!

  1. Who can say that things don’t move in India? – no longer true!
    The E-revolution has hit practically all government offices – the Income Tax Office HQ at Mumbai has the ASK – Aaykar Seva Kendra, an air conditioned token-driven inward dak (mail) receiving centre on the ground floor manned by just-out-of-college kids with i-pads. Instead of a date stamp for the acknowledgement, a sticker is stuck on the letter – “Even the Finance Minister in Delhi can track your file by a click of the mouse,” says a kid to me.

    The State Government has the Sub-Registrar of Assurances who records all documents like the powers of attorney, lease deeds etc. on the e-route operating from 7am-9pm in two shifts and you are given an appointment to sign in his presence. There are three such offices one downtown, one in the heart of Mumbai, and another in the suburbs.

    Our NRIs/PIOs, now reverse migrating, should have no reasons to complain any more on slow movements – now everything is on the fast track as the unexpected fast delivery of your passport shows. Jai Ho Bharat! Acche din aa gaye hain!

  2. Wowowow now that is a great thing.. excellent..
    Ten years na.. my father passed away and I had to rush to india.. after all formalities were done.. which took weeks. . I had planned to rake my mom with me to uk.only to find her passport was about to expire. .

    No one was ready to listen to my request..I had already extended my leave twice from two weeks I had taken 6 ..

    Someone suggested to get a tatkal one done grt the form attested by the area police officer and it wud be easier.. so I went to the local police station and the way they treated me was such a sad experience..
    Not even the situation I was in or that I am also in the same department matrer the Dsp Mr. Ram kumar ..supposedly an educated person and an officer had the following to say to me ” yeh uk ka id yahan nahin chalta.. mujhe kya pata tun kaun hai..or aise kaise kar den attest” he said a few more things but I wud not like to rememebrr those..

    Can you beleive it..

    In the end had to do what everyone does pay an agent a fee and get it done.. it still took 2 weeks..and mom had to be left alone and travel alone..

    But this is fantastic news 2 days as fast as uk..very good sir..

    This has made me proud now to know this..

  3. I agree Pro. My wife applied for her renewal and went for her appointment on Tuesday. Today it was delivered. I have mine due in a few weeks. Hopefully mine will be as quick and prompt too.

  4. I and my husband had spent a whole day for getting a new passport 10 years back. From your post it looks so easy now. I must go there to get a change of address soon. Thanks for the information.

  5. i have a passport issue too..and have been dreading to get it done…given the inordinate delays… which city are u in? where is this heavenly system in place? i haven’t tried out the e-portal in our city, but now after reading this, im at least willing to give it a try!! 🙂

  6. I am not surprised! I don’t think we give our government enough credit! I have to apply for my son’s passport’s renewal too! Another organization I’ve had fantastic service from is the LIC. Superbly organized and very responsive.

    Thanks for posting this! I know a lot of people must be under the impression that nothing moves, even without trying!

  7. TCS is handling this perfectly. 10 on 10. I received my renewed passport within 3 days and the new passport for the girls within a week. The number of PSK centers they’ve opened up across the country is quite impressive too. If you have all your documents in place, it’s lightning speed. Another important thing worth noticing is the way customers are handled by these PSK centers. To save multiple visits, I had taken appointment for myself and the girls on the same date and we had different timings. I couldn’t leave the girls (8 and 5) unattended and it was the guard who took me to an official and got me approval to take the girls along with me and all our formalities were completed in that one sitting. Kudos!

  8. That’s very encouraging, really. I hope I will have a similarly smooth sailing, though I feel my situation will be a bit more complex since my passport has already expired. But still have been hearing positive news about this type of service. Great going, really!

  9. Pingback: Are bribes demanded or are they offered? | Proactive Indian

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