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India will soon start issuing e-passports which will use Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and biometrics. Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs, Secretary, has stated that the new e-passport will secure biometric data, and also be in line with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation(ICAO). 

The passport jacket will contain an electronic chip which will have important security-related data encoded on it.

India at present issues passports for its citizens in printed booklets.

Earlier Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar 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.

Advanced security features

The External Affairs Ministry will issue chip-enabled e-Passports with advanced security features to citizens. The personal particulars of the applicants would be digitally signed and stored in the chip which would be embedded in the passport booklet. In case, anyone tampers with the chip, the system shall be able to identify it, resulting in the failure of the passport authentication.

With a view to manufacture e-Passports, India Security Press, Nashik has awarded the contract for procurement of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)-compliant electronic contactless inlays along with its operating system necessary for chip-enabled e-Passports. Issuance of e-Passports will commence on the successful completion of the procurement process by ISP, Nashik.

TCS will also introduce the much-awaited e-passport, a senior company official said.

"We will bring in the technology (for e-passport), but you know the sovereign functions like granting or printing of the passport booklet will continue with the government," Tej Bhatla, business unit head for public sector at TCS, told PTI.

He explained that it will not be a completely paper-free document as work like visa stamping will continue, but will definitely reduce the need for paper through automation wherever possible.

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