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Tatkal takes an eternity
Unnecessary rules delay instant passports

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Consider this: In this digital age the computer has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Computer generated letters no longer require human signatures while the internet has reduced physical distance and has taken publishing to newer benchmarks. Yet our government would have us believe that the computer is not all that trustworthy.

If you were to get a passport made under the Tatkal scheme and thought you would get your passport within seven days, you would be in for a rude shock. In the website www.passport.nic.in it is clearly mentioned, “Polaroid prints or computer prints will not be accepted.” So if you are tech savvy, with your own digital camera and printer, expecting to take your own passport size photograph, the archaic government rules will make sure that they are termed invalid and your passport application would stand a high chance of getting rejected.

Instead, the government wants you to run around and locate one of those photographers who have a rare and museum worthy non-digital camera and are still pitifully dependent on the dark room to develop photographs. Only after you have managed to get yourself clicked thus will your photograph be considered valid.

One wonders what the real reason behind this entire charade really is. Does it serve any purpose apart from harassing the common man? Well, government officials are better equipped to answer this but the fact remains that it has not prevented forgery, given the ease with which one can acquire a fake passport in India. And it will not as long as the nexus between passport officials, verification officials and illegal brokers, continues, mindless restrictions on digital photos notwithstanding.

Pathikrit Payne

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