With effect from today, the government's revised guidelines for passport renewals will come in to force. Among its features is the doing away of police verification for the renewal of the passport.
For re-issue of passports, no police verification would be necessary either before or after issuance unless there is any negative information concerning an applicant.
Moreover, passports will be required to be re-issued within four days
The rules for obtaining certificate for waiver of police verification have been relaxed by extending the authorisation powers of under secretaries, tehsildars and police station house officers.
According to the new rules, applicants will now be required to furnish only three out of 14 documents as proof, including one with a photograph. And, to get the coveted 'emigration check not required' (ECNR) stamping the eligibility criterion has been scaled down to a matriculation certificate rather than graduation.
While easing procedures for applying for passport, the government is also examining suitable amendments to the Passports Act to provide for stricter penalties for those obtaining passports by fraudulent means.
The government is also working on the introduction of biometric passports, which will have a micro-processor-based digital storage device embedded in them containing biometric features like fingerprints of the holder besides the general information concerning the document and the person concerned.
The scheme, to be introduced next year as a pilot project, will be introduced in the categories of diplomatic and official passports initially. Others will be covered later, based on the experience of the pilot project.