The government is in the process of introducing online payment to prevent malpractices in obtaining appointments for passport services, a top official said in Chennai on Friday.
Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi, joint secretary Passport Seva Project and Chief Passport Officer said around 25-30 per centof the applicants who get an appointment do not turn up at the respective offices.
"To prevent fictitious identity details, we will make payment recommendatory and obligatory (in some cases) as 25-30 per cent of applicants don't turn up at passport offices after obtaining appointment," he told reporters here.
The proposal aimed at doing away with any malpractice is likely to take effect by March, he said, adding the payment could be made through different channels, including debit and credit cards.
He was responding to a question on passport applicants thronging travel agents thinking it will be an easy channel for them to obtain a passport and also said 'there is no special dispensation' for them.
Pardeshi said the government has ensured transparency by making passport application go online, which among others has done away with touts.
He was addressing a press conference jointly with IT major Tata Consultancy Services, which was recently roped in for its software expertise.
The partnership will be on till 2018 before further extension for two years with mutual consent, he said.
Ravi Viswanathan, Head of operations, TCS Chennai, said enough security measures are in place for online application of passports to prevent malpractices and this included keeping a tab on IP address from where a particular submission would be made.
To a question, Pardeshi said the government had issued 73.65 lakh (7.36 million) passports in 2011, which was expected to touch 80 lakh (8 million) by the end of calendar year 2012.
There was 10 per cent annual growth in issuance of passports in the past few years, he said, adding there 'may' be around 45 million valid passports in the country.
Tamil Nadu had in 2012 issued an 'all-time high' of 720,000 passports in 2012, he said.