The government of India wants to digitize passports by adding electronic chips that store passenger data locally.
A person’s passport is not just their gateway to international travel but is also, a powerful document for personal identification. The government of India wants to make that information easier to access by digitizing the passport, which will also add more functionality and security.
The plan to issue e-passports is in the process which will add advanced security features to make it more impermeable. If a passport gets tampered with, the system will be able to identify this mishap and will not go ahead with the authentication.
The chip will also store personal information of the citizens which will be a part of the physical passport booklet. These particulars will be accessible by specific international authorities and will also hold the digital signature of the person, making it quicker to pull up information about a person’s travel history.
The government has already approved this new concept of smart passports, and the procurement process is underway. The contactless inlays for these passports will be manufactured by the Indian Security Press in Nashik.
To make this transition smoother, the ISP will be floating a global tender to obtain rights to incorporate contactless inlays compliant with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAI), along with access to the required operating system.
The manufacturing of e-passports will commence upon successful completion of the tender. Once that is done, India will join numerous other countries which also offer smart passports for better global usability.
The Indian government has been pushing the adoption of passports in India with more than a crore passports issued in the last few years, a trend that is expected to only grow faster.
This announcement came from V. Muraleedharan, the Minister for External Affairs from the Rajya Sabha. He also shared insights on the procurement procedure and future plans of the Passport Seva Kendra. It could be a sign of greater things to come, such as faster passport application procedures, quicker renewals, digitized processes and overall shorter turnaround time.