An important message has been issued by Modi in public interest with respect to passport services. The Passport Seva (Consular, Passport & Visa Division) under the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India has notified an ‘Alert on Fake Websites related to Passport Services’.
According to Passport Seva, Consular, Passport & Visa Division, “It has come to the notice of the Ministry that many fraudulent websites and mobile applications are collecting data from applicants and also levying additional hefty charges for filling up the online application form and scheduling appointment for Passport and related services. “
“Some of these fake websites are registered in the domain name *.org, *.in, *.com such as www.indiapassport.org, www.online-passportindia.com, www.passportindiaportal.in, www.passport-india.in, www.passport-seva.in, www.applypassport.org and many other similar looking websites,” the says notification alert.
Advise to citizens: DOs and DON’Ts
“It is therefore advised to all citizens applying for Indian Passport and related services that they should NOT visit to the above mentioned fraudulent websites or make payment related to passport services,” the Passport Seva Consular, Passport & Visa Division ‘Alert on Fake Websites related to Passport Services’ notification said.
“The official website of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, for applying Passport services is www.passportindia.gov.in,” it added,
mPassport Seva App
The notification alert advises, “Alternatively, applicants may also use the official mobile App mPassport Seva which can be downloaded from Android and iOS application stores.”
Meanwhile, the government advised Indians under 20 years of age who hold Overseas Citizen of India or OCI cards to get them re-issued each time they get their passport re-issued. For OCI card holders above 50 years, the card needs to be re-issued only once after passport renewal, according to details in a press release issued by the Indian Consulate in New York.
OCI cardholders between the age of 21 and 50 years don’t need to get the cards re-issued each time after passport renewal.
The Indian government is allowing “temporary relaxation” till June 30 this year for selected cases where any OCI card holder less than 20 years old travels with a copy of the new passport, the OCI card and the old passport which is linked to the OCI card.
For OCI card holders over 50 years old too, the same relaxation applies until June 30, the statement said.
The OCI card works as a multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to India, and exempts card holders from the need to register with local police authorities even for long India stays and can be used as identity proof for application of PAN card and driving license and for opening a bank account if the OCI card holder is residing in India. The OCI card came into being after the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955, in August 2005.