In a move to make international travel easier for citizens and also give a boost to the tourism sector, the Centre is set to start issuing e-passports in 2022-23.
“The issuance of e-passports using embedded chip and futuristic technology will be rolled out in 2022-23 to enhance convenience for the citizens in their overseas travel,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated in her Budget 2022-23 speech on Tuesday.
Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs signed an agreement for implementation of the second phase of the Passport Seva Programme with Tata Consultancy Services Limited, and had stated the issuance of e-passports will be introduced.
The next generation e-passport for citizens will have fully secure biometric data and will allow smooth passage through immigration posts globally, according to Ministry of External Affairs Secretary Sanjay Bhattacharyya, who shared information on the proposed launch of e-passports in a tweet last month.
The e-passports will follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and will be produced at India Security Press, Nashik, the tweet said.
The travel industry in India is hopeful that this roll-out will push outbound travel. “The launch of the issuance of e-passport with embedded chips is a welcome move for travel and tourism industry as it would ease international travel facilitating more people to travel abroad,” according to the spokesperson of Travel Boutique Online.com, an online travel agency.
This well thought out initiative will help to boost the overall travel industry and also ease the process for overseas travel and augment global mobility, said Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint MD, BLS International, providers of global visa outsourcing services.
“We at BLS have been helping different governments globally to roll out e-Passports and would be extremely glad to share our expertise with the Government of India. With the launch of this initiative, Digital India vision will be strengthened and we will be proud to be a part of this project,’’ Aggarwal said.