India working on e-passports to make travel safer


The Indian government is working on issuing e-passports to ease international travel and enable protection against identity theft and greater data security, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said Friday on the occasion of Passport Seva Divas.

The junior minister for external affairs V Muraleedharan had announced the government’s e-passport plan in the Rajya Sabha in April this year.

“The passport’s critical information will be printed on its data page as well as stored in the chip. The characteristics of the document and the chip are specified in International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) document 9303,” Muraleedharan had told news agency ANI then. He also said that the new e-passports will be manufactured at the India Security Press (ISP), Nashik (Maharashtra), and Letters of Intent (LoIs) have been issued for 45 million chips.

The government had begun testing e-passport samples in April, and full-scale manufacture and issue is expected to commence with the completion of the technical eco-system and infrastructure.

“As we commemorate the Passport Seva Divas on 24th June this year, we continue our commitment to deliver the next level of citizen experience,” he added, alluding to the e-passport rollout.

He said, “To further smoothen the passport delivery ecosystem, the Ministry is continuously working with States/UTs police to reduce the time taken for police verification. The mPassport Police App is now used in 22 States/UTs covering 8275 police stations.”

Jaishankar said the Passport Seva System has also been integrated with the DigiLocker system to facilitate a paperless documentation process.