India: Next generation e-passports to be a reality

India: Next generation e-passports to be a reality

India: Next generation e-passports to be a reality

The Government of India is all set to introduce a whole new passport system for its citizens. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the government will launch chip-enabled e-passports that will be secured with biometric data.

The new e-passports will help passengers to move smoothly through immigration posts across the world, and it is currently in the second phase of the Passport Seva Programme, developed by Tata Consultancy Services. The first phase took over a decade of work.

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The e-passports, according to Sanjay Bhattacharya, Ministry of External Affairs, Secretary, will secure biometric data, and also be in line with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The good news is that India has already issued about 20000 official and diplomatic e-passports, containing an electronic microprocessor chip embedded in them. This is all a part of the pilot project before the final project gets rolled out.

However, the final project will not be rolled out anytime soon, as the second phase of the Passport Seva Programme is going to take about 9.5 years. It is the largest mission-critical e-governance program in the country currently.

As of now, the country issues passports for citizens in printed booklets. Incidentally, India has ranked 83rd on the list of the most powerful passports in 2022. India managed to improve its ranking from the previous 90th position, while Japan and Singapore top the list.