Under Digital India, police verification to issue or renew passports will go online

Under Digital India, police verification to issue or renew passports will go online

NEW DELHI: Police verification for issue/renewal of passports will soon be an online affair, allowing its timeframe to be cut from the existing 20 days to less than a week.

The home ministry is set to allow all SP-level police officers access to databases such as National Population Register (NPR), Aadhaar and Electoral Photo I-Card via the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) to enable online verification of identity, address and criminal record, if any, of the passport applicant.

Though the online check, for now, will be backed up with the usual physical verification by the local police, the ultimate aim is to fully eliminate the need for a doorstep check for all categories of passports.

According to sources, the linking of CCTNS with NPR, UID and EPIC will enable the SP (superintendent of police) to match the photo and address provided in the passport application with the applicant’s NPR, Aadhaar and EPIC records. Also, any criminal history of the applicant may be verified using CCTNS, which seeks to e-integrate police station records and systems across the country.

“We hope to have the online system for police verification in place by November. We expect the funding under CCTNS, which was not allocated any resources in this year’s budget, to be cleared after the PM returns from his foreign tour. It will take us another 3-4 months to integrate the databases and have the technical infrastructure in place,” a senior home ministry official said.

Under the new arrangement, the processing time for police verification will be cut to less than a week from the existing 20 days (13-14 days for applicants based in Delhi), the official said.

This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent direction to the foreign and home ministries — conveyed during his June 24 review under Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation ( PRAGATI) — to work towards quicker processing of passport services.

As per an agreement reached between the foreign ministry, the issuing authority for passports, and the home ministry, while a police verification request for issue of fresh passport would be triggered only after the scheduled appointment at Passport Seva Kendra, in case of applications relating to Tatkal, renewals and blue passports (issued to government servants), the police verification may be initiated immediately upon receipt of the application.

“The online integration of CCTNS with NPR, UID an EPIC will help SPs verify at the click of a mouse the photo, address and criminal history of the applicant. This may also be followed, as per the SP’s discretion, by a physical verification. Eventually, of course, the requirement of physical police verification will be totally done away with,” the home ministry official said.

Incidentally, this online system for police verification will not be limited to passport services alone. The home ministry plans to extend it to police verification of tenants, domestic servants, new government recruits and even to background checks of prospective employees by companies.


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