After the Covid lull, the Ahmedabad Regional Passport Office (RPO) registered a growth of nearly 50 percent in passport applications in 2022 as compared to 2021. Applications for passports had gone down considerably in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, only to recover in mid-2021. The passport office received 6.43 lakh applications in 2022 which was 93 percent of the pre-Covid level in 2019 when the Ahmedabad RPO had received 6.93 lakh applications for passports. The RPO received 4.33 lakh applications in 2021 and 3.13 lakh in 2020.
But there have been delay in appointments, as the RPO did not have adequate manpower. The staff shortage has forced the department to reduce the number of applications to be taken up at Passport Seva Kendras. In 2022, the RPO received 6.43 lakh applications and issued 6.24 lakh passports. The official said that to meet the staff shortage, the RPO Ahmedabad was open on 24 holidays and Saturdays last year.
The number of applications for passports increased in 2022 compared to the past two years as people searched for opportunities after two years of Covid restrictions. There was also a spike in the number of students taking up admissions in universities abroad.
Growth was also due to an increase in the number of people going to tourist locations. There was a spurt in applications from those in the age group of 22-28 as many wanted to go abroad for studies.
Against the sanctioned strength of 123 staffers, the RPO currently has a shortage of 45 percent. Of the present strength, the RPO had to depute 19 officials to Post Office Passport Seva Kendras for verifying applications.