passport

Karnataka has started to implement online police verification, which would eliminate most of the paperwork and reduce costs, with five police stations in Bangalore, reports Economic Times. The program ran a pilot project in central Bangalore earlier this month, and has now extended it to the entire city.

The government claims this initiative will reduce the waiting period for police verification in the city to around 10 days from 30 before. Each police station will be provided with tablet and an ‘mPassport Police App’ which can be used to enter user details and share it with various offices instead of passing around physical copies of documents across district police headquarters, SP office, thana, local intelligence unit and field verification teams.

The app will also track the latitude and longitude of the field policemen using GPS to ensure that the cops verify the address by actually visiting the location. Each police station will have one nominated officer that is trained to operate the tablet and app. Interestingly a Bangalore Mirror report mentions that a similar project was previously executed in Hyderabad by the local police.

One year late: Note that the government had said it would launch online police verification for passports in July last year. At the time, a Home Ministry mentioned that it would take 3-4 months to integrate the databases and have the technical infrastructure in place, with the system expected to go online by November 2015. Interestingly, it had also said that the system could eventually be extended for police verification of domestic servants, tenants and new government recruits.

The online police verification system, if eventually made available for the private sector, should make life easier for companies like Uber, that have been having trouble keep tabs on its drivers. Similarly various other digital aggregators, like the services marketplaces LocalOye and Zimmber, which aggregate professionals from various fields, will also benefit from being able to quickly ask for a police verification on the professionals they list.

Passport services at Common Service Centres: In March 2014, the Ministry of External Affairs had said it would launch passport related services through the one lakh Common Services Centers (CSC) in rural areas. The CSC scheme for setting up of over 100,000 Internet enabled centers in rural areas was approved by the government in September 2006. The CSCs was to help applicants with filing and uploading of forms, payment of applicable fees and scheduling of appointment for the visit to the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK), at a fee not exceeding Rs 100.

Image source: Flickr user Baigal Byamba under CC BY 2.0