Chances are that if you apply for a new passport or a re-issue of one in the year 2021, you could get an e-passport which would be embedded with an electronic microprocessor chip, reported The Economic Times.
The first 20,000 official diplomatic e-passports were issued on a trial basis with such chips and the government has now decided to begin the same process for issuance of e-passports for all Indian citizens. The government is in the process of selecting an agency that will set up the IT infrastructure and solution to carry out the nationwide project.
This will help in making passports difficult to forge and will allow quicker migration for international passengers. Presently, passports are issued to citizens which are personalised and printed on booklets like other countries. A dedicated unit will be set up by the agency for preparing personalised e-passports. The process will issue 10,000 to 20,000 e-passports per hour and IT systems will be set up in Delhi and Chennai to carry out the load.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued by the National Informatics Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs to select an agency to set up an IT infrastructure as well as solution for e-personalisation of passports.
The Economic Times report also includes the fact that e-passports were earlier issued only from CPV Division at MEA headquarters for diplomatic and official passports. However, if this proposal goes through, all 36 passport offices in the country will issue e-passports once the components of the e-passport personalisation system are included in the present issuance system.
According to the RFP, ‘It will require a completely dedicated set-up and processes for e-passport document issuance. The e-passport has international ramifications because of its usage as credible identity document issued by any sovereign country, it is absolutely necessary to keep track of any security and quality issues.’0