Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj deserves kudos for the manner in which she is delivering her duties. Besides helping scores of Indians in distress abroad, she is now streamlining and easing the process of issue of passports.
These much-needed changes in the system are surely a welcome move as there has been an awful lot of avoidable red tape.
As per existing rules, all the applicants born on or after January 26, 1989, were mandated to submit the Birth Certificate as the proof of Date of Birth (DOB). But as per new rules, the passport authority has mentioned that eight different documents can now be submitted as proof of Date of Birth.
1. Certificate of Birth (BC: Birth Certificate) issued by the Registrar of Birth and Deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other prescribed authority, who are empowered under the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969 to register the birth of children born in India.
2. Transfer or school leaving or Matriculation Certificate issued by the school or by any recognised educational board containing Date of Birth (DOB) of the applicant.
3. PAN card issued by the Indian Income Tax department stating Date of Birth (DOB) on it.
4. Aadhar Card or E-Aadhar with the Date of Birth (DPB) of the applicant.
5. The copy of the service record of the applicant of Government servant or the Pay Pension Order of the retired government Servants duly attested or certified by the officer-in-charge of the Administration of the concerned Ministry or Department of the applicant, having his Date of Birth (DOB).
6. Driving licence (DL) issued by the Transport Department of concerned State Government.
7. Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India having the DOB of the applicant.
8. Policy Bond issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations or Companies having the DOB of the holder of the insurance policy.
Other major reforms include:
1. The online passport application form will now require the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, only one parent and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children.
2. For divorced or separated person, it is not mandatory to add the name of spouse in the passport application form. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.
3. The total number of annexures has been reduced from fifteen to nine. All the annexures that are required to be given by the applicants would be in the form of a self declaration on a plain paper. No attestation/swearing by/before any Notary/Executive Magistrate/First Class Judicial Magistrate would be henceforth necessary
4. Married applicants would no longer be required to provide any marriage certificate.
5. Orphaned children who do not have any proof of date of birth such as Birth Certificate or the Matriculation Certificate or the declaratory Court order, may now submit a declaration given by the Head of the Orphanage/Child Care Home on their official letter head of the organisation confirming the DOB of the applicant.
6. Sadhus and sanyasis can now mention names of their spiritual gurus instead of biological parents under new passport rules. This would go down well with this class of people who face issues of not keeping up with the material world.
7. Government employees not having an Identity card or no-objection certificate can also apply for a passport. They have to submit a self-declaration in Annexure-N stating that the applicant has given intimation letter to the employer informing him/her that he/she has applied for a passport.