The Centre has decided to open passport service centres in all the 800 district head post offices across the country in two years' time to increase people's access to the facility, especially in remote areas.
Making the announcement here today, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said, "150 post office passport seva kendras are being opened this year and within two years all the 800 head post offices in all the districts would be in place."
"We have decided to ensure that no citizen is made to travel long distances for a passport. People in far-flung areas of the country find it difficult to obtain passports and redress passport-related grievances," Singh said.
The step has been initiated through a joint effort by the ministry of external affairs and the department of posts to deliver passport-related services to the people.
Passport seva kendras have already been launched in several district head post offices in various parts of the country.
"It has been decided to utilise head post offices as front offices for rendering passport services under this novel programme," he said.
The government has decided to scale up the programme following successful operationalisation of two pilot projects taken up initially.
Apart from expanding the passport services and giving a wider reach, procedures for obtaining passports have also been substantially simplified, the minister said.
"In addition, the entire process of getting passports has been made transparent, while middlemen and dalals have been done away with," Singh said.
The former Army chief, who participated here at the 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' programme to mark the completion of three years of Narendra Modi government, also held discussion with ex-Army officials during an interactive programme.