Thursday, 9 March 2017
Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) are charging Rs. 40/- towards SMS alert services from the applicants seeking issue of passports. The subscription to the service is an optional and not mandatory. However, it seems the applicants are driven to such a stage where the applicant is compelled to subscribe for such service at the time of personal appearance at Passport Seva Kendras. One of the applicant even was informed that this is a processing fee. There must have been some compulsions or may be motivation for such adaption. A relevant point may be that on an average 4 to 5 SMSes are initiated and delivered to the applicants which leads to believe that on an average one SMS cost around Rs. 10/- to the applicants. The cost of a SMS in the market is around Rs. 0.20 to Rs. 0.25 .
In order to reach bottom to such practices, I have initiated seeking information under RTI Act 2005. The application under RTI Act 2005 to Ministry of External Affairs is reproduced.
1. " I request you to please provide me the following information under RTI Act 2005 for the period 1st January 2016 to 31st December 2016
a) Total number of applicants received for issue of passport
b) Total number of applicants who registered their mobile number for Passport Seva SMS alert service
c) Total amount collected from such applicants for registration of their mobile number for passport seva SMS alert service of passport status.
d) Total amount paid to SMS vendor"