January of 2020 had seen the start of rumors about a mysterious disease with an incredibly high spread rate. Although, it took till march for COVID-19 to enter India other countries had already started to feel the bunt of the disease with cases rising daily. Now it stands to reason that people will be unwilling to go visit other countries during such a time. Hence, the Ahmedabad passport office had started to see a downward spike in the number of passport applications since February. Numbers show that by June, there were only the Ahmedabad Regional Office had only received a meager amount of 1.58 lakh applications while last year there were about 7 lakh applications by the end of 2019.
Statements made by officials stated that reasons for the dip in the number of applications could well be blamed on the pandemic as flights were canceled and in turn, tours also had to be canceled. Another major reason could also be because of the shutdown of all educational facilities worldwide, students were disfavored from applying for passports because they were not allowed to go study in other countries.
A senior official stated that the changes in diplomatic relations between the US and India could also be a factor. There was only a slight dip of 2.5% in passport applications from 2018 to 2019. Changes in norms could be held accountable for such a large dip going from 2019 to 2020. Passport appointments were reinitialized since June 3rd but due to the ongoing pandemic only half the number of applicants used to turn up.
Ahmedabad appoints full-time passport officer
Wren Mishra, previously the regional director of the Staff Selection Commission of Chandigarh has replaced Sonia Yadav as the next full-time regional passport officer. He started his term by deciding to go over all pending applications. 40 applications were called on a day to day basis and their applications were mostly processed on that day itself.