Passports to be available in three days
New Delhi, July 7: The ministry of external affairs is planning to embrace information and communication technology (ICT) to “guarantee” that passports are issued within three days “anywhere in the country” and to enable an applicant to learn within 20 minutes of applying online, whether he or she will get the passport or not, foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon said.
The ministry of external affairs is also mulling to introduce mid-career training for diplomats and completely reviewing promotions and assessments, Mr Menon said on Saturday after releasing two books on diplomacy at the Indian Council of World Affairs. The mid-career training would be mandatory at various levels.
Dwelling on the other reforms proposals, he said that intranet would be introduced in the ministry of external affairs by the end of next year. Also, Management Information Systems (MIS) would be introduced in the next two months. “We intend to use ICT for our internal communication and to interface with the public,” he explained. Mr Menon said, “We have a huge opportunity to remake ourselves in the ministry of external affairs because India is changing and the world is changing. [We need to] modernise the way we work and how we work. A change in mindset and attitude [is needed].”
He added, “[Today] diplomats serve democratic masters. [It is the job of the ministry of external affairs to] coordinate all different interests that go into foreign policy and [it is for diplomats to think] how to bring value to India’s multiple transactions with the world.” Mr Menon released the book, titled Asian Diplomacy: The Foreign Ministries of China, India, Japan, Singapore and Thailand, written by a retired Indian diplomat, Mr Kishan S. Rana.
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