Police verification for passport to go online within a year

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NEW DELHI: Delays in issue of passports due to lack of timely police verificationare set to go with the government planning to replace physical verification of the applicant’s antecedents with online verification using a link to the newly-created national database on crimes of criminals. The national database was rolled out on Monday as part of the home ministry’s Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS) initiative. The much-delayed CCTNS project, first approved in 2009, finally got off the ground with Union home minister Rajnath Singh launching the Digital Police portal that e-integrates the country’s 15,398 police stations and allows citizens to report crime and request antecedents verification online. The TOI was the first to report the impending rollout of CCTNS on Saturday. The national digital police portal is linked to various state police citizen portals and empowers the central investigating and research agencies to use their secure login to access the national database on crime and criminals as well as crime statistics and analytics. “The police portal will provide the citizen facility for online complaint registration and request for antecdent verification…the CCTNS project will help in realising the Prime Minister’s dream of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’,” Singh tweeted on Monday. Though CCTNS will for now allow the law enforcement agencies to track crimes and criminals in real time, apart from enabling citizens to report crime and seek antcedents verification online, the home ministry hopes to integrate it with e-courts and e-prisons software over the next couple of months. “This will allow police to access court and prison records, aiding invesigation,” said a home ministry officer. The police agencies can conduct 11 searches with the national crime & criminal database and also track 46 crime analytics reports for data-based action and policy interventions. Stating that integrating the CCTNS with other citizen-centric services would be an ongoing process, Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said it will also be linked to the passport seva software, allowing online police verification for passports within a year. The link will enable police verification requests to be transmitted online by the passport office followed by online verification using the database on crime and criminals. Even where physical visits to the applicant’s neighbourhood are required, the inputs and comments may be fed on hand-held mobile/tablet devices and transmitted back electronically to the passport office. “Police in some states like Telangana are already using CCTNS for passport credentials. They will be given hand-held devices to go to an applicant’s address and upload his or her details on to the network. It will minimise contact with police and reduce time,” Mehrishi told reporters.

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