This post was originally published on 28 March 2016.
From April 1, the passport authorities would not accept ration cards as a legitimate document for either proof of address or identity purposes.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a circular issued to all Passport Seva Kendras, had informed that the passport applicants could, however, submit other documents including water tax receipt, electricity bill consumption receipt, telephone (landline or mobile phone) receipt, Election Photo Identity Card, IT returns and LPG refill receipt as proof of address or identity purpose for obtaining a passport.
Recently, the Union Ministry of Food, Public Distribution System and Consumer Affairs had in an order stated that the ration cards should not be used as a document.
According to the passport officials, the ration card cannot verify the authenticity of an applicant, as people can make changes to it easily.
“When they migrate, they alter the details to be able to misuse the card for various purposes,” said officials from the passport office.
All passports offices have to now make the necessary changes on their portals, run a ticker informing the public that ration card is no longer a valid proof of identity or address.
Besides the ration card, the other valid proof of address are water bill, Aadhaar card, income-tax assessment order, proof of gas connection, registered rent agreement, photo passbook of active bank account, electricity bill, and the passport copy of spouse
No more tricks to get ECNR status
The authorities had also detected a pattern of some applicants applying for non-ECR (Emigration Check Required) passports by enclosing income tax returns by remitting meagre sums like Rs. 100, Rs. 200 and Rs. 300 as income tax and claiming themselves eligible to get non-ECR passports.
To ensure that illiterates did not fall prey to the designs of unauthorised “agents” who attempted to engage such gullible labour class population to overseas employment, the Ministry had decided to dispense with such methods.
Regional Passport Officer S. Maniswara Raja said on Thursday that the Ministry had issued the circular and it would come into force with effect from April 1.
Meanwhile, he appealed to the applicants to check the website for any clarification with regard to obtaining passports or other related issues. The PSK staff would guide them in the right direction, he added.