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Home / News / India /  How is an e-passport going to be different from your regular ones? Govt explains
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The Government is planning to issue e-Passports to its citizens, with advanced security features, Minister Of State in the Ministry of External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. The minister replied that an e-Passport is the same as the current Machine Readable Passport (MRP), with the addition of an electronic chip, which contains the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page, i.e. the holder’s name, date of birth, photograph, etc.

The personal particulars of the applicants would be digitally signed and stored in the chip. The data of the citizens for e-Passport would be used for a specific purpose only, i.e. issuance of the passport and related services. There is no secondary use of the data, thereby safeguarding the privacy concerns. Further transaction processes are authenticated by digital certificates and are cryptographically signed. Once captured, the data is stored in a secure repository, i.e. industry-standard database. Relevant database security-related controls are performed round the clock by Security Operations Centre.

Sample e-Passports have been tested and the full-scale manufacture and issue will commence with the completion of the technical eco-system and infrastructure. The said facility would be made available in phases at all Passport Offices across India.

Earlier the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said in Rajya Sabha that the personal particulars of an applicant would be digitally stored in the chip that would be embedded in the passport booklet.

The government is expected to roll out e-passports this year.

"The ministry is planning to issue chip-enabled e-passports to citizens with advanced security features. The e-passport features contactless smart card technology, including an embedded Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip embedded in the front or back cover or page of the passport," he said in a written reply to a question on e-passports.

He said the "chip characteristics" are in line with guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialised agency of the United Nations which defines standards for travel documents.

"The personal particulars of the applicants would be digitally stored in the chip, which would be embedded in the physical passport booklet," the minister said.

"In case, anyone tampers with the chip, the system shall be able to identify it, resulting in the failure of the passport authentication," he added.

He said in addition to providing protection against fraudulent practices and tampering, the e-passport will help in substantially upgrading existing passports and services to the citizens.

Meanwhile, The total number of Passports issued in the country during the last three years is 2,92,93,011. As per data provided by Bureau of Immigration (BoI), the number of people who travelled from India to foreign countries during the said period is 5,06,86,763.

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