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Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India

10/29/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/29/2020 07:40

Remarks by Shri V. Muraleedharan, Hon'ble Minister of State for External Affairs during the Inauguration of renovated premises of Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad

Shri G Kishan Reddy garu, Hon'ble Union Minister of State for Home,
Shri Md Mohamood Ali garu, Hon'ble Minister for Home, State Government of Telangana,
Shri Revanth Reddy garu, Hon'ble Member of Parliament,
Malkajgiri Constituency Shri G. Sayanna garu, Hon'ble MLA, Secunderabad,
Shri T S Vivekananda ji, Additional Director General, CPWD, Hyderabad,
My Colleagues from MEA,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaskaram and Good morning.

At the outset, I must thank Kishan Reddy garu, Mohamood Ali garu and all the dignitaries who have joined us today for this inauguration ceremony. It would have been a privilege of mine to physically host you all on this occasion, but pandemic has made it difficult. I must say that your presence in this ceremony today is an expression of great support to the work done by our Regional Passport office, Hyderabad. I sincerely hope to have your continued support for the effective functioning of the RPO, Hyderabad in the future as well.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Under the guidance and leadership of our Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Naredra Modi ji and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar ji, Ministry of External Affairs has been working to promote ease of travel to our citizens. In the past five to six years we have drastically expanded the reach of passport services to bring it to the doorstep of our citizens through Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) and Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs). As I speak, today we have 517 PSKs including 424 POPSKs across the country providing passport services to our citizens. As result of the increased capacity, MEA had been issuing on an average, approximately 10 lakh passport per month before the pandemic struck. We are hopeful of resuming our work in full steam and reach the pre-pandemic level in due course as our economy reopens.

Because of the conscious efforts made by the Ministry, the entire passport application process has become much more user friendly and pleasant. Today, our citizens can apply for passport from any corner of the country at the nearest passport Seva Kendra. Police verification will be done at the place of his/her current residence and passport will be issued right at the PSK where he or she had applied. Further, an applicant is no longer required to look for internet kiosks for filing passport application. He or she can easily apply, pay fees and schedule appointment for issue of passport sitting at ease at one's home. All they need is a Smart phone and mPassportseva app.

In the past, the documentation required for obtaining a passport was so complex that instead of facilitating, the rules were a major deterrent for any ordinary citizen interested in obtaining a passport. Thanks to the vision of our former External Affairs Minister Late Smt. Sushma Swaraj ji, the passport rules have been updated, simplified and expanded to meet the requirements of the changing times. Many anachronistic provisions were done away with and the complex documentation requirements were either removed or simplified to ease the difficulties faced by passport applicants. Thanks to these reforms, today, single parents, orphan and destitute children, etc can easily apply and get passport, which was so difficult if not unthinkable for them before.

We have also been able to significantly reduce the time taken to issue the passport. This has been possible because of the use of technology in completing the police verification process. Today, in most of the states police verification is carried out through the Police verification app. Therefore, the data captured is transmitted in real time making the process simpler and quicker. I am glad to note that the state of Telangana is one of the top most states in effective use of mobile police verification app. As a result, our RPO, Hyderabad has been able to issue passports, on an overage, within 6-7 days of time. On this occasion, I would urge more and more state governments to use the mobile police verification so that the people of the state get their passport within the shortest time possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Covid19 pandemic has drastically changed our lives. Under the able leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister we have collectively managed to contain the virus. It is time to refocus on our economy while taking due health precautions. As our PM has emphasized, lives and livelihood are both important.

Even during the lockdown period, our passport offices were working to bring down passport pendency. We were quick to adapt to the new circumstances and many passport offices including RPO Hyderabad started receiving and resolving complaints using virtual modes of communication. Now, International travel is gradually picking up despite ongoing restrictions. My Ministry has taken a decision to resume passport operations throughout the country. I am happy to share that since mid-September we have started releasing 100% appointments in all passport centres. We are closely working with the Department of Posts to reopen all POPSKs. I am glad to note that all 5 PSKs and all 14 POPSKs in Telangana are fully operational now.

Today's, inauguration of the renovated premises of the RPO, Hyderabad is a mile stone in the RPO operations in Hyderabad. The renovated building will have state of the art infrastructure and will provide top class facilities to our citizens. I am happy to note that the renovated RPO Hyderabad building will have a new reception, larger waiting hall for applicants, will be more friendly to divyang persons and will have a more comfortable environment for service delivery. Not only this, the renovated RPO premises will be an integrated facility. Other MEA offices located in Hyderabad including MEA Branch Secretariat, Protector of Emigrants office and ICCR Regional Office will be shifted to this facility. As a result, all the MEA related services, whether it is passport services, emigration services or ICCR related services, they all will be available under one roof, within the premises of RPO, Hyderabad. This makes Hyderabad only the second city in India after Mumbai to have an integrated MEA complex.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On this auspicious occasion, I wish to thank the State Government of Telangana, Estate Management Division and Passport Seva Project Divisions of MEA and all the officers and staff of RPO, Hyderabad without whose support this project would not have come up so quickly. I would also like to extend my best wishes to all the employees of RPO, Hyderabad who rose up to the Covid-19 challenge and played a critical role in restoring regular passport services to the people of Telangana. I am confident that all of you will continue to provide citizen services in a timely, transparent and reliable manner.

With these words, I declare the renovated premises of RPO Hyderabad open.

Thank you, Jai Hind!

New Delhi
October 29, 2020