External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today announced that all passports will be in English as well as Hindi from now on. MEA Swaraj also announced that passport fee will be reduced by as much as 10 percent for those below 19 and above 60 years of age, PTI reported. “All passports will be in English and Hindi languages from now on and not just English”, the minister was quoted as saying by the agency.
Last Saturday, Sushma Swaraj had also announced the launch of new Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK), the news agency had earlier said. These centres were, in addition, to 86 POPSKs announced in the first phase. The Narendra Modi Government opened 16 PSKs, with priority given to north-east states, Swaraj had said. Thus, the NDA Government has opened about 251 PSKs and POPSKs since coming to power. Before this, there were 77 PSKs in the country.
Earlier this month, the government had come up with a plan to open passport centres within a radius of 50 km. “We have set up a target that no one has to travel more than a radius of 50 kms to get a passport,” she was quoted as saying by PTI. The minister further said that the MEA and the DoP are planning to map about 810 head post offices in the country and extend the ambit of the scheme.
She also launched a website for the Know India Programme (KIP), which was an initiative by the Ministry for the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) between the age group of 18 – 30 years. The focus of this programme to make PIO youths familiarise with their roots.
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The scheme, which was launched in 2004, has 40 editions under which 1,293 PIO youths have visited the country. Last year, the government revamped the scheme from 21 to 25 days, the PTI report added.