Chip-enabled e-passports on government priority list

Your next passport could be a chip-enabled e-passport with advanced security features. This was announced by S Jaishankar in his first address as foreign minister.

The minister also gave awards for exemplary passport services to a variety of service providers, from the state to individual level, at the seventh Passport Seva Divas.

“The MEA has initiated discussions with India Security Press regarding the project for issue of chip enabled e-passports to 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,” he said.

Promising that the MEA and the department of posts would have a Passport Seva Kendra in every Lok Sabha constituency, Jaishankar said the ministry was issuing one crore passports a year. “Both our ministries (MEA and ministry of communications) are completing the necessary formalities for early inauguration of the Post Office PSK already announced. We will also be announcing more locations for setting-up POPSK after completing feasibility studies,” he said. “Together with the 93 Passport Seva Kendras which are already functional, this has taken the total number of PSKs in the country to 505 today. The common man of the country now has a Passport Seva Kendra near his or her residence and is not required to travel too far to submit the passport application,” he added.

Last year, he said, the MEA had launched the m-passportseva mobile app and ‘passport from anywhere’ scheme, as well as made it easier for children of divorced parents to get passports. “Those applying for a passport under the ‘Tatkal’ scheme are no longer required to submit a verification certificate from a gazetted officer,” he added.

Jaishankar gave awards at the function to the best performing passport offices.

The MEA’s new slogan for passports, Jaishankar said, was, “Passport — Sudhaar, Vistaar aur Aap ke Dwar.”

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