External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday reiterated that the government will start rolling out e-passports by the end of this year. Last year, the government announced the concept of e-passport to make international travel easier and passport holders’ data secure.
On this year’s Passport Seva Divas on June 24, Jaishankar also announced that the Passport Seva Programme (PSP) will be embarking on an improved and upgraded version PSP V2.0 to ensure a digital ecosystem among all stakeholders and offer enhanced passport services to citizens.
As the government is touting e-passports as an effective way to alleviate the hassles of international travel, here’s all you need to know about soon-to-release e-passports:
- The E-passport will come with an electronic chip inside it that will store crucial data of the passport holder like biometric information and security of travel documents.
- The usage of e-passports will be the same as the regular ones, however, the electronic data chip will give an added layer of security compared.
- E-passports will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and will work on the potential of the embedded rectangular antenna type electronic chip of 64-kilobyte storage. It is being designed in a way to prevent data access from any remote source.
- IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is working on e-passports and is said to set up a new command and control center with the MEA, and a new data center to support all the backend requirements of the project.
- The government aims to reduce the circulation of fake passports by issuing e-passports as it will enhance security and also reduce duplication and data tampering.
- As of now, the government has not made it clear if all the current passport holders will need to upgrade to an e-passport or wait till the existing one expires to apply for an e-passport.
- The application process for an e-passport is expected to be the same as the physical passport.
- At present, over 100 countries including Ireland, Nepal, and Bangladesh use e-Passports for international traveling purposes or as document proof.