The Inspirational Story Behind New Passport Norms, name of one parent to suffice!
“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world…are the ones that do”
When I logged on Facebook this morning, stumbled upon a post in a travel group called “Travel Talk” managed by a very responsive admin named Pankaj Bajaj. The post left me beaming the entire day through sessions, interviews and meetings, grabbed a quick-lunch at Venkys, couldn’t wait to re-start my laptop and re-do my last draft. The innocent face with the gleam in eyes to see the world wouldn’t leave my thoughts, the inspiring story had to be told and shared. The article I had intended to publish next was on the recent changes brought in by Ministry of External Affairs on issuance of new passport. The backbone of TravoMance, who doesn’t wish to be named yet thought it to be an insipid idea based on facts and annexes that can be downloaded from the MEA site, Kingshuk said it’s more of a news feed, they failed to understand the need to put this out, a valid bone of contention. Always up for healthy discussions my logic to put up the article was to make everyone, who in case missed the big news, aware of the long overdue radical changes. Muffled in thoughts, started the day and voilà, Travel Talk happened! The inspiring story had to be narrated…
The admin on TravelTalk had put up a warm congratulatory message for a lady, Zaaria Patni whose son had received his passport. Big deal many of you will swear out loud, well big deal it is as the passport issued to Muhammad, her 10-year-old son was after a 3 years ordeal of visiting the passport office over 100 times being harassed for papers and a Public Interest Litigation in the last month signed by 96k supporters that pushed the passport laws to change. Clearly remember reading Zaaria’s story on “Humans of Bombay” where a 10 year old’s plea of not being issued a passport was taken up. Regressive and redundant laws, Muhammad was denied a passport and a basic right – to travel..to see the world..to fly. He was deprived of fulfilling his dreams on grounds of requiring his dad’s consent, inconsequential that he is being raised by his mother, single handedly.
Restless through the afternoon until I connected with the affable lady to check if I could share her story, few text exchanges and I felt as if had known her for a long time. A photographer by profession her job demands extensive travel around the globe, common anxiety of working moms – how will the child manage. To top it she couldn’t take Muhammad along even on his school breaks. The independent woman in me felt heartbroken when I read she avoided overseas projects just to be around her son. Not getting a passport added to her troubles and that’s when she decided to take it head on. More Power to you lady and all those who led from the front, forcing the laws to change. Having a super active minister at the helm of affairs at MEA fastened the move, known for her prompt responses tweeples adore Mrs.Sushma Swaraj. A dream of many pursued by few, sealed with just one signature.
With this long-awaited CHANGE of having single parent’s name on the application form, there are some more radical changes that have been announced. Does this bring a mindset change, definitely not, however when people like Zaaria stand up and fight for basics, challenge norms and question convention, our eyes shine with hope!
Exhaustive list of pointers for those who would be applying for one soon!
1 Date of Birth Proof
Until now Birth Certificate for applicants born after 26/02/1989 was a mandatory and only document considered for Date of Birth proof.
Now, any one of the following will be considered.
- Birth Certificate (BC) issued by the Registrar of Births & Deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other prescribed authority whosoever has been empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969 to register the birth of a child born in India.
- Transfer/School leaving/Matriculation Certificate issued by the school last attended/recognized educational board containing the DOB of the applicant.
- PAN Card issued by the Income Tax Department with the DOB of applicant.
- Aadhar Card/E-Aadhar having the DOB of applicant.
- Copy of service record of the applicant (only in respect of Government servants) or the Pay Pension Order (in respect of retired Government Servants), duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the Administration of the concerned Ministry/Department of the applicant, having his DOB.
- Driving licence issued by the Transport Department of concerned State Government, having the DOB of applicant.
- Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India having the DOB of applicant.
- Policy Bond issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations/Companies having the DOB of the holder of the insurance policy.
2 Name of Parent
- The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father/ mother / legal guardian, i.e. only one parent and not both.
This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant, Annexure C.
3 Other Changes
- Annexures brought down from 15 to 9
- Annexes would be in the form of a self declaration on a plain paper.
- No attestation/swearing by/before any Notary/Executive Magistrate/First Class Judicial Magistrate would be henceforth necessary.
- Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate.
- Name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons not required, not even the Divorce Decree.
- Orphaned children who do not have any proof of DOB may now submit a declaration given by the Head of the Orphanage/Child Care Home.
- Children not born out of wedlock should submit only Annexure G while submitting the passport application.
- For in-country domestically adopted children, submission of the registered adoption deed would no longer be required, plain paper self declaration to suffice.
- Government servants, who are not able to obtain the Identity Certificate / No-Objection Certificate from their concerned employer can give a self declaration that he/she has given prior Intimation letter to his/her employer informing that he/she was applying for an ordinary passport to a Passport Issuing Authority.
- Sadhus/ Sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual Guru mentioned in the passport application in lieu of their biological parent.
A step towards inclusive and progressive India, definitely!
We wish loads and loads of travels for Muhammad and his lovely photographer mom, the world is awaiting you with open arms guys!