India third in world in issuing passports: MEA official

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.