Indian Travellers Soon To Get Chip-Enabled E-Passports

As a part of the Passport Seva Programme's second version, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced that Indian travellers would soon have access to e-passports with chips to ensure swift processing and enhanced security
Representative Image
Representative Image

Travelling has benefitted immensely from technological advancement. On Passport Seva Divas (June 24), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced the beginning of the Passport Seva Programme's second phase, which includes several measures in concurrence with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to enhance the "Ease of Living" for citizens. 

The objectives draw heavily on the importance of ensuring smoother international travel right from the very beginning of the process concerning the issuance of passports by enabling digitisation. The announcement also included positive reflection on the past year and the scaled growth in the demand for passports post the pandemic. The focus on digitisation is also in agreement with the government's ongoing project of "Digital India." As per the announcement, the central objectives referred to by the acronym "EASE," are elaborated as the following 

E Enhanced passport services to citizens, using a digital eco-system

A Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered service delivery

S Smoother overseas travel using chip-enabled e-passports

E Enhanced data security

While your regular passports would cease to be that anymore, they are certainly not going out of use. The said e-passports would be an upgraded version of the current physical passports, containing an electronic chip storing data concerning the passport holder. In addition, reports suggest that the passports would also include biometric verification via fingerprint and face ID and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to prevent unregulated data transfers. 

How Does It Benefit Travellers

If these advancements excite you, the benefits will have the traveller in you over the moon. The features have been devised to enable efficient and swift checking and curb the occurrences of forged passports. Therefore, with its launch, you won't have to queue up for a long time for security checks at the airport. Since several countries have already implemented e-passports, its launch in India will ensure that it measures up to the international passport control systems across the globe, ensuring smoother international travel, a swifter immigration process, and seamless assessment of data by the international authorities. These features also streamline border crossings, allowing automated passport control gates to authenticate identity swiftly through digital processes. 

While these advancements are to follow next year, the previous year has also witnessed significant improvement since implementing the Passport Seva Programme. EAM Jaishankar also noted that the demand for passports has surged post the pandemic, with "a record of 13.32 million passports" being processed. To add to the achievements, the Programme has also "contributed towards the Government's goal of 'Digital India,' with milestones such as mPassport Seva Mobile App, mPassport Police App, integration of PSP with DigiLocker, and the 'apply from anywhere' scheme." 

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