New ‘chip-enabled’ e-passports to be issued soon as MEA prioritises rollout

New 'chip-enabled' e-passports to be issued soon as MEA prioritises rollout
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the ministry is pushing for the manufacture of e-passports so that new booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out soon (Representational Image, Courtesy: newsheads.in)

The External Affairs Ministry is pushing for the manufacture of e-passports on priority to ensure that the travel document with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future.

Speaking at the seventh Passport Seva Divas, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said the ministry has initiated discussions with the ‘India Security Press’ regarding the project for issuing chip-enabled e-passports to the citizens.

“We propose to pursue the manufacture of e-passports on priority so that a new passport booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future,” the minister said.

The new passports are expected to have thicker front and back covers, with a small silicon chip embedded in the back. The chip will store the holder’s photograph and fingerprints along with details of 30 visits.

In line with its earlier commitment, the ministry shall also continue with the process of opening new Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) in every Lok Sabha Constituency where no seva kendras exist today.

“Both our ministries (MEA and Ministry of Communications) are completing the necessary formalities for early inauguration of the POPSK already announced. We would also be announcing more locations for setting-up POPSK after completing the feasibility studies,” the minister said.

“Last five years of passport services delivered by the ministry constituted a passport revolution. The mandate of the MEA is to ensure good governance and a transparent, efficient, timely, effective, reliable, assured and accountable public service delivery system,” he added.

Given that more than one crore passports are issued every year, Jaishankar thanked Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for enabling the opening of 412 POPSKs since January 2017.

Jaishankar said the partnership between MEA and Department of Posts is a wonderful example of the best practice in citizen-centric governance while campaigning for optimal use of the technology under the government’s Digital India program.

The minister also lauded the efforts of states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala for their police verification process, which has come down to 19 days in 2018.

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