Puducherry, Feb 23 (PTI) India now ranks third in the world after China and the US in issuing passports with the number having doubled since 2010, a senior official of the External Affairs Ministry said here today.
The number of passports issued went up from around 60 lakh five years ago to 1.2 crore last year, Joint Secretary and Chief Passport Officer of Ministry Muktesh K Pardeshi said.
"In 2010 we embarked on a journey for passport seva programme to set up new centres. Now there are 37 passport offices and 90 seva kendras. India has become a major passport issuing country in the world and is today ranked third in the world after China and USA in issuing passports," Pradeshi said.
No state or union territory was now without passport related facilities, he said after Chief Minister N Rangasamy inaugurated the passport seva kendra here, the 90th in the country.
The chief minister thanked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for expediting its establishment and said the government felt the need for a centre locally to cater to needs of students, tourists and others from Puducherry and Karaikal regions.
Passport applicants earlier had to go to the Regional Passport Office in Chennai, he said.
Rangasamy said there had been a rise in enrolment of students in professional colleges and youth going abroad for jobs and for higher studies. Demand for passports had thus shot up, he said.
Paradeshi said nearly 50,000 passports obtained by applicants by submitting wrong and fake documents across the country were cancelled last year.
"During 2015, as many as 50,000 passports were cancelled across the country after it was detected that the applicants had submitted wrong and fake documents", the official said, adding, there were also cases of fabrication of identification of applicants.
"We have referred such cases to police for necessary action," he said.
The detection of fake documents submitted by applicants was possible using a new system of cross-checking details of Aadhaar cards, PAN documents and Voters Photo Identity Cards, he added.