Monday, November 10, 2014

Centre likely to make Aadhaar card mandatory for early passport

The NDA government is planning to make Aadhaar card mandatory for issuance of passports in a month’s time. In another bold step, the Centre is likely to do away with “police verification” prior to the issuance of a passport, if the applicant has a Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number, and conduct it later.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a note sent to the Home Ministry, has said, “The government is making Aadhaar card as a mandatory requirement for issue of passports. The MEA is working with The UIDAI to implement it and the process is expected to be completed by the end of this month. If the applicant is not in possession of Aadhaar card, the enrolment number can be produced.”

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be roped in to establish a system for validation of criminal antecedents of the applicant.

After Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), making Aadhaar mandatory for passports will be another push by the NDA government for the unique identification scheme, which was launched by the UPA government.

“Once the NCRB sets up its database, the criminal antecedents of the applicants for all categories will be verified before the passport is issued,” it said.

A senior official said PM Narendra Modi recently attended a meeting where the issue of delay in issuance of passports due to police verification was discussed. He added that a large number of complaints were being received at the PMO from applicants regarding police verification.

“The MEA is of the view that when an applicant already has an Aadhaar card or has applied for, his identity to a major extent is established — this needs to be confirmed by the UIDAI. Therefore, based on the NCRB validation and the applicant’s self declaration on the aspects of citizenship, criminality antecedents, criminal proceedings, summons or warrants etc, the passport can be issued on post police verification basis,” the note said.

It also said that when the passport is handed over to the applicant, the address of the concerned police station will also be given so that the “applicant can pursue and complete the process of police verification before travelling abroad”.

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