Since 2012, all passports have had a barcode, and by scanning this, the information can be accessed by immigration officials. This is a measure aimed at not revealing more information than required on the document.
Reports suggest that the Ministry of External Affairs is proposing to do away with the last page of the passport which essentially contains details of residence, parents name etc.
Here’s a look at some of the proposed changes:
1. The new passports will not carry the last page containing details of residence and parents name. Since 2012, all passports have had a barcode, and by scanning this, the information can be accessed by immigration officials. This is a measure aimed at not revealing more information than required on the document.
2. Does this mean all existing passport holders need to apply for a renewal of their passports? No, all existing passports will remain valid until their expiry date. The new format passport will be issued on renewal.
3. There is likely to be a change in the colour of the passports as well.
As of now, passports are issued in three colours: white for government officers or to those people who visit other countries for the official work of the government; red for diplomats; and blue for all others across two categories — those who require emigration check (ECR) and those who do not (ECNR). Soon, however, those in the ECR category will have orange passports. This will make it easier and more efficient during immigration checks.
4. The new passports will also not have the names of parents printed on it, as is the practice currently. The ministry has been evaluating submissions that in case of children of single parents, the name of the estranged father/mother need not be printed on the passport. Given that the last page of the passport itself will be made redundant, this objective is also met. However, clarity is awaited on whether the names of both parents would be collected during the application process, or not.
5. In August last year, the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS) was to be linked with the passport service of the Ministry of External Affairs, and it will replace physical police verification for passport applicants with online verification in a year. This will further reduce the time taken to process a passport. Read more about it here.
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