In yet another attempt to mislead people, a purported message claiming that the Centre has affected a major change in the Indian passports is doing rounds on social media.
The viral message, which first surfaced on WhatsApp asserts that the Narendra Modi government has decided to remove the nationality column from the Indian passports. However, the claim holds no truth at all as the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs has rubbished reports of any kind of variation in the format of the passport.
Social media users have been sharing a screenshot of a Hindi WhatsApp forward that translates to, "Legal Update: Modi government has removed the "Nationality" column from Indian passports. So, make sure not to destroy or lose your old passports."
Take a look at the said screenshot here:
The claim, attributed to one Syed Etemad Uddin, has certainly made a number of people believe that the nationality column will not appear in passports anymore.
Upon coming across the widely circulated picture, the fact-checking desk of International Business Times, India, resorted to verify the claim and found it to be completely false. Our assessment was based on a number of factors.
Firstly, keeping in view that such a huge decision by the Centre would have made headlines, we scanned through websites of popular media houses but did not come across any report in regards to the alteration in Indian passports.
Secondly, the Passport Seva website of the Ministry of External Affairs did not issue any notification to inform about the suggested modification.
Lastly, Anurag Srivastava, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, has himself clarified that the Centre has made no changes in the Indian passport and that the nationality column will be maintained as earlier.
"It is absolutely incorrect. In all categories of travel documents issued by the government, the nationality column is maintained, and there has been no change in the same," said Srivastava in a statement to India Today.
Thus, it is evident that false claims are being spread about a change in the format of the Indian passport.