E-passports For All Indian Citizens from Next Year

If you apply for a new passport or seek a re-issue in 2021, chances are you could get an e-passport embedded with an electronic microprocessor chip.

After issuing 20,000 official and diplomatic e-passports on a trial basis with such chips, the government has now begun the process for issuance of e-passports for all citizens and is selecting an agency that will set up the IT Infrastructure and solution to implement the big project.

This will make passports difficult to forge and quicker immigration for international passengers. So far, passports issued to citizens are personalised and printed on booklets. The agency will set up a dedicated unit and processes for preparing personalised e-passports to enable issuance of 10,000 to 20,000 per hour and IT systems will be set up in Delhi and Chennai to handle this load.

The National Informatics Centre, which is working in tandem with the Ministry of External Affairs, has issued a Request for Proposal to select an agency to set up an IT Infrastructure and solution for e-personalisation of passports.

So far, e-passports were issued only from CPV Division at MEA headquarters for diplomatic and official passports. Now, all 36 passport offices in India will issue e-passports after the components of the e-passport personalisation system are inducted in the existing passport issuance system at all passport offices. The e-passports will be based on International Civil Aviation Organization standard to ensure interoperability between countries.

“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,” says the RFP. The e-passport system will be incorporated without disturbing existing processes and there will be no significant increase in the time required to issue a passport.

The targeted output is 10,000 e-passports per hour and 50,000 per day, scalable up to 20,000 per hour and one lakh per day.

The IT system to be set up at Data Centres at Delhi and Chennai will handle the load.

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