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Indian passports to be bilingual: Sushma

New Delhi: Indian passports will henceforth be in both English and Hindi and 10 per cent discount will be given in passport fees to applicants below the age of eight and above 60, the government announced on Friday.

“From now on, all Indian passports will be in Hindi and English. We have asked the printing press in Nashik to print passports in these two languages,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.

Countries like Russia and Germany had passports in their respective languages, she said while addressing an event to commemorate 50 years of the Passport Act.

“We often receive complaints as to why our passports are only in English,” Sushma Swaraj said. “When all Arab countries have their passports in Arabic and Germans and Russians have it in their own languages, why can’t we have ours in Hindi?”

She said there had been an increase in application for passports from elderly citizens who wish to visit their children or relatives working or studying abroad.

Swaraj unveiled, together with Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha, a commemorative postage stamp to mark the completion of 50 years of the Passport Act, which was enacted on June 24, 1967.

Swaraj said her ministry had teamed up with that of Sinha’s to utilise the Head Post Offices as Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) in order to extend passport services on a larger scale.

“We have decided to set up 235 POPSKs in two phases — 86 in Phase-I and 149 in Phase-II. It is a matter of satisfaction that 52 POPSKs identified in Phase-I have already been operationalised,” she said.

Sinha said that applicants could now visit the designated POPSK instead of the regular Passport Seva Kendras to complete the formalities necessary for obtaining passports.

–IANS