Indian passports are soon going to be more secure with an integrated chip inside. Dubbed as e-passports, the chip-enabled travel document will contain an electronic chip that will hold the information printed on the passport's data page. All data pertaining to the person's travels will be saved in the chip.
Union minister of external affairs, S Jaishankar said the "procurement process for the production of electronic-passport is underway" and that the chip-based e-passports will strengthen the security purpose.
"I emphasise that it is necessary to roll out the manufacture of e-passports on a priority basis," Jaishankar said.
Benefits of chip-enabled e-passports
With beefed up security, the electronic passports will curb the fake passport nuisance as tampering with the chip will render the passport useless and passport authentication will fail. The data stored on the chips cannot be wiped remotely, nor can it be hacked. Physical possession of the e-passport is mandatory for accessing information.
Besides travel details, the e-passports will store the traveler's biometric data and speed up the immigration process. This means lesser wait time in immigration queues and hassle-free scanning of the document for the authorities.
There won't be any massive difference in the design of the new passports, but they will be a tad heavier and thicker than the current passports. The chip will have 64KB storage capacity, which can store a history of at least 30 international trips.
India won't be the first to come up with electronic passports as nearly 120 countries, including the US, the UK, Germany and others already have the system in works. The ministry is working with National Informatics Centre, IIT-Kanpur and Indian Security Press for e-passport with advanced security features, including electronic contactless inlays. No commercial agency is involved in the process.
The Indian Passport Issuing Authorities have issued 1.22 crore passports in 2019 in India and abroad. There are 517 Passport Kendras across India, of which 93 are Passport Seva Kendras and 424 are Post Office Passport Seva Kendras, the ministry said.