October 13, 2008

TCS bags Passport Seva Project from Ministry of External Affairs

  • India's largest mission critical e-governance project of over Rs1,000 crore
  • Passports to be delivered after 3 working days post police-verification

New Delhi: Tata Consultancy Services, (TCS) (BSE:TCS.BO, NSE:TCS.NS), a leading IT services, business solutions and outsourcing firm, announced it has a signed a deal with the ministry of external affairs (MEA), Government of India, for the Passport Seva Project (PSP), the largest mission-critical e-governance project valued at over Rs1,000 crore. After implementation of the project which will be managed end-to-end by TCS, the ministry expects that the process of issuing a new passport will be completed in 3 working days while passports issued under the Tatkal scheme will be dispatched on the same day, subject to address and police verification of applicants. The master service agreement was signed between representatives of TCS and the MEA in New Delhi today.

The project cost is valued over Rs1,000 crore and the project will be implemented within a buy-own-operate-transfer, or BOOT framework, with pilot projects operation within 19 months. The countrywide rollout of the Passport Seva Project will take place within six years and the Government will open 77 passport-filing centres across the country in a phased manner. TCS will have end-to-end responsibility of implementing this project.

Speaking on the occasion, Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary, ministry of external affairs said: “The Passport Seva Project, based on a public-private partnership model, aims to provide passport-related services to Indian citizens in a speedy, convenient and transparent manner. The sovereign and fiduciary function of granting and issuing passport remains with MEA and TCS will be our technology and operations partner in this project.”

S Ramadorai, CEO and managing director, TCS said, “We believe that this mission-mode project of national importance will make delivery of passport services truly world-class in nature. This project reiterates TCS’ commitment to help government deliver citizen services more efficiently through technology and process improvements and will transform passport service delivery to the citizens of India.” Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice president, Global Government Business Group, said: “After the successful implementation of the MCA-21 programme, the Passport Seva Project will enable citizens to enjoy the benefits of a technology-led, service oriented approach to passports while ensuring that the proper security, safety and safeguards are maintained.”

The Passport Seva Project would digitise the entire passport services lifestyle and allow online filing of applications. Applicants also have the alternative option of filling the intelligent character recognition (ICR)-enabled form, which along with all relevant documents will be scanned and submitted at passport facilitation centres (PFCs). The PFC will be the primary hubs that will support all activities like biometric capture, photograph, payment and verification and grant of passports in the presence of applicants for most cases. The passports will be dispatched in three days in case no police verification or post-issue police verification is required based on passport issuance regulations. Complete tracking of process would be possible in the system. TCS personnel will facilitate police nodal offices and the PP Forms will be downloaded there directly eliminating the logistic delay. A call centre would be established to help the applicants with information regarding passport procedures and the status of submitted requests. Grievances would be tracked and closed.