Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has a signed a deal with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for the country’s Passport Automation Project, a project worth more than Rs.10,000 million (US$210 million).
The Passport Automation Project is designed to digitize passport services and allow online filing of applications. Applicants will have the alternative option of filling an Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR)-enabled form which along with all relevant documents will be scanned and submitted at Passport Facilitation Centers (PFCs).
The PFCs will be the primary hubs supporting all activities including biometric capture, photograph, payment and verification and issue of passports in the presence of applicants for most cases.
Police nodal offices will be facilitated by TCS personnel and it will be possible to download passport forms there directly, thus eliminating any logistic delay. A call center will be established to help the applicants with information regarding passport procedures and the status of submitted requests. Grievances would be tracked and closed.
After implementation of the project which will be managed end-to-end by TCS, the Ministry expects the process of issuing a new passport to be completed in three working days, while passports issued under the Tatkal scheme will be dispatched on the same day, subject to address and police verifications of applicants.
The project will be implemented within a Buy-Own-Operate-Transfer or BOOT framework with pilot project operation within 19 months. The countrywide roll-out of the Passport Automation Project will take place within six years and the Government will open 77 Passport Filing Centers across the country in a phased manner. TCS will have end-to-end responsibility of implementing this project.