Passport rules eased:
A three-member committee was formed by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Women and Child Development that gave the following recommendations:

1.  No compulsory need of birth certificate. Applicants can submit any of the following documents:

•    PAN Card, birth certificate, voter identity card, Aadhaar or driving license
•    Students can submit transfer certificate/school leaving certificates

2. Online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of any one among the father, mother or legal guardian.

3. No marriage certificates needed for married applicants.

4. No need to name the spouse in cases of applicants who are divorcees.

5. Orphaned children can submit a declaration from their respective orphanages while sants can name their spiritual gurus.

Significance of changes in existing rules:

1. Reduced role of agents: The new rules will eliminate the role of non-government agents and touts.

2. Customization: The new rules of enabling single parents to apply for passport and non-requirement of the application to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons etc. provides a fair degree of customization in the form filling and other compliance procedures.

3. Simplicity: The annexures have been brought down to nine from the 15 required under the Passport Rules, 1980. 

4. Faster Processing: Simplifying of rules ensures the faster processing and delivery of passports.