attestation of consular documents are being rendered by the 184 Indian Missions/Posts abroad.
            During 2017, the Ministry processed approximately 1.17 crore passport and passport related
      service applications compared to 98.4 lakh in 2016 marking a growth of nearly 19 per cent.
            The Ministry, in association with the Ministry of Communications, has taken an innovative
      initiative to open Passport Seva Kendras at the Head Post Offices (HPO)/ Post Offices in the
      country to be known as ‘Post Office Passport Seva Kendra’ (POPSK). The Ministry has
      announced opening of 251 POPSKs. Out of these 60 POPSKs became operational till January
      2018. Nearly 5 lakh passport applications have been processed at these POPSKs during 2017.
      With the addition of 251 POPSKs, the total number of PSKs including POPSKs that would be
      added.
            The Ministry integrated its four offices in Mumbai, namely, (i) Passport Office, (ii) Office
      of the Protector of Emigrants, (iii) Office of the Regional Director of ICCR, and (iv) Branch
      Secretariat into a single building - the “Videsh Bhavan”-for effective management of its
      engagement with the State Government of Maharashtra. The Passport Office at Thane was
      merged with the Passport Office at Mumbai.
            The Ministry of External Affairs celebrated the completion of 50 years of the Passports Act
      1967 which was enacted in 1967. To mark the occasion, a Special Commemorative Stamp and
      First Day Cover were released by the Department of Posts during the Fifth Passport Seva Divas
      and Passport Officers Conference in 2017.
            The pre printed portion of the passport is already in Hindi and English languages. At
      present, the personal details of the applicant are printed in English language only. The
      Government has now decided to print personal details on passports in both Hindi and English.
      Overseas Indian Affairs
            The Government has brought about a transformational change in India’s engagement with
      the Overseas Indian Community. The efforts are geared at strengthening our engagement and
      outreach with all segments of overseas Indians. The Government has accorded top most priority
      to their welfare and protection and the institutional framework for support and welfare of
      overseas Indians has been considerably strengthened. This has been done with an unparalleled
      focus keeping in the mind the issues and concerns of our migrant workers that are the most
      vulnerable segment of the Overseas Indian Community.
            As part of Government’s commitment to strengthen engagement with diaspora, among the
      major initiatives/programmes launched/hosted during 2017 are Videsh Sampark outreach
      programme, Know India Programme, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conferences, Scholarship
      Programme for diaspora children, Awareness Campaign on Safe and Legal Migration and
      merger of Ministry’s scheme for distressed Indian women married to NRI spouses with Indian
      Community Welfare Fund.