August 28, 2016 12:19:48 am
The government is taking “definitive steps” towards decentralising the mechanism through which passports are issued to Indian citizens. At an interaction organised by the Pune Union of Working Journalists (PUWJ), Dnyaneshwar Mulay, an additional secretary with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) who serves as Consul Passport and Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs, said that a regional passport office (RPO) for Solapur will be set up within a few months.
Since Solapur is covered under the Pune RPO, setting up an RPO at Solapur will decrease the demand at Pune, hastening delivery and the appointment availability cycle may further shrink from the present duration of seven days.
“We are talking about decentralising of the passport seva mechanism where smaller centres will have access to the passport seva facility. The MEA is working on the model although it’s at a nascent stage presently,” said Mulay.
Mulay said that the ministry was focusing on boosting the tourism industry as it has the potential for earning large foreign exchange and also providing employment to the youth. He emphasised on developing newer models for rural and farm tourism and also formulating special packages for Indians who have settled abroad to allow them to visit places of religious and historic importance. Atul Gotsurve, Regional Passport Officer for Pune, who was also present at the event, said that very recently the MEA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Solapur Municipal Corporation for acquiring land and setting up other necessary facilities at the upcoming Solapur RPO.
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