Reissuing a passport – 1 or Making a monkey of queuing theory

Mar 8, 2013 | Opinions | 0 comments

I need to apply for a UK visa, and the consulate needs 2 back-to-back blank pages in my passport for the same. Who knows why, but this ridiculous requirement has screwed up my travel plans and I’ve already wasted 2 full working days. Anyway, so now I needed to apply for a new passport since I dont have 2 back to back blanks on the old.

I filled the form and submitted it online for Tatkal on 5th March and then tried to figure out how to get an appointment online for the further processing at the Passport Seva Kendra.  There is no information on the process available on the passport website. Not surprising of course, just the Indian government living up to its promise:

To deliver passport services to citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce
Shri Salman Khurshid

On the website, every time I tried the link “Manage Appointment” I got the message “Maximum number of appointments exceeded for the day”. Exasperated I started googling and was stunned by the amount of material on this stuff online. Great many people complaining bitterly online that its next to impossible to get an online appointment, many websites devoted to explaining the process and strategies to get an appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) online. Seems its a black science, I kid you not. Sample these:

And an entire website devoted to getting the appointment:

This last website is a great pot of valuable info, and thats when one realizes that the entire appointment process must have been pakaoed in the fertile brain the size of  the left testicle of an ant. In brief  here’s how it works:

  1. Discover from somewhere the actual time at which the online appointment window opens, this is 6pm for Bangalore, and is different for each city. Of course the Indian govt cant be bothered to provide this info in the first place, and this is the first fuckup.
  2. The booking window opens for a short duration, in this duration one has to click on the “Manage appointment” link, enter some captcha, select the date/time slot best suitable, enter some more captchas, and voila! one has an appointment to meet some shabby babu in the PSK.
  3. But back up a moment, do you think its so simple? Ha. Like I said, left testicle. At 6pm, all of Bangalore is also logged into the website trying to get the appointment, and the website just f-ing dies. On 5th March, the website just hung from 6 pm till 6:30, and I could not even go into the “manage appointment” link. And the punishment is that you need to try the entire process a full 24 hours later. And thats the 2nd fuckup.
  4. Needless to say most people cant figure all this shit out in the first place, get snafued by fuckup 1 and fuckup 2, and never manage to get the online booking, and end up paying the govt for overpriced Tatkal, or the touts.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of the “timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner” of service that the govt has setup for getting passports.