Police verification for the issuing or renewal of passports will soon be moved online, allowing the procedure to be completed within a week instead of the standard 20 days, reports the Times of India. According to a home ministry official, it will take 3-4 months to integrate the databases and have the technical infrastructure in place, with the system expected to go online by November. The system will work by allowing all police officers above SP (superintendent) level to access databases like the National Population Register, Electoral ID database and the Aadhaar ID database. The report mentions that by linking Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), UID, NPR and EPIC, the police should be able to match the photo and address provided in the passport applications with these records. This will enable them to verify the identity, address and criminal record of a given passport applicant. Initially, the online background check will be verified through physical verification by local police, before eventually migrating the entire process online. Interestingly, the home ministry mentions that the online system will not only be used for passport services, but can be extended to police verification of domestic servants, tenants and new government recruits. MediaNama’s take: This is an interesting initiative by the government, and a much needed one. It should help reduce the time it takes to obtain a passport, which is tediously long right now, even with the new online application system. I know, I am yet to get a call/mail…
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