The Central government has planned to do away with physical police verification of passports soon, PTI reported on Friday. The process will be replaced with verification through a newly-created online database of criminals. This national database, announced initially in 2009, was launched on Monday under the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project.

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said the portal will form the “backbone of the criminal justice system”, and will soon be linked with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ database on vehicle registrations.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the database currently has records of around 7 crore criminal cases, both past and current. The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project integrates 15,398 police stations, and provides for online filing of First Information Reports and verification of antecedents. Citizen-centric services like tenant verification can also be carried out through this new system.

Mehrishi said that the police in some states are already using the portal for checking passport credentials, PTI reported. “[The] police will be given hand-held devices to go to an applicant’s address, and their details will be uploaded with the network,” he was quoted as saying. It will minimise contact with the police and reduce time, he added.