India to get chip-enabled e-passport soon: External Affairs Minister
'Introduction of e-passport will strengthen the security of our travel documents'
The Government of India is developing a chip-enabled e-passport, announced External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Wednesday, June 24, on the occasion of Passport Seva Diwas.
The Minister made the announcement during a virtual keynote address, which was live streamed on social media, and said the chip-enabled e-passport will strengthen the security of the travel document.
"We are working with Indian Security Press Nashik and National Informatics Centre to implement this project. Introduction of e-passport will strengthen the security of our travel documents. The procurement process for this production is underway and I would emphasize the need to hasten that," Jaishankar said.
The Minister said the MEA has incorporated greater use of information technology (IT) and digital systems into its functioning including delivering public services. More than 10.2 million passports were issued by the passport issuing authorities in India and abroad during 2019.
"Digital platform such as the mPasspon Seva Mobile App for submission of passport applications and the citizen-friendly 'Apply from Anywhere' Scheme have eased the process for submission of passport applications by the citizens," he explained.
With the concerted efforts of both the Ministry of External Affairs and the state police authorities, the average time for police verification has come down to 16 days in India.
In the UAE, applicants receive their passports in a matter of three to five working days.
"However, following the Covid-19 outbreak, there has been a decline in the demand for passports. India is the third largest passport issuing country in the world," said Sanjay Bhattacharyya, the secretary - CPV, OIA, MEA, during his opening remarks.
Passport Seva Divas is held on 24 June every year. India's Passport Act was enacted on 24 June 1967.
(With inputs from ANI)
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