India to Soon Have E-Passport with a Microchip

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has expressed its plan to introduce a chip-enabled e-Passport. Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the ministry, said that the government is in the process of implementing this project.

Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary of the Consular, Passport, and Visa (CPV) Division, at the External Affairs Ministry tweeted regarding the same, stating “India to soon introduce next-gen ePassports for citizens.”

The new e-passport will be based on secure biometric data to eliminate forgery and facilitate immigration. There will be a chip embedded on the 2nd page in the passport booklet that will store biographical information and have digital security features. This would mean that the chip has a unique digital signature for each country to be verified using their certificates.

The e-passport will be International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliant. For this purpose, the government has approved the purchase of electronic contactless inlays to manufacture e-Passports to the India Security Press (ISP), Nashik. The manufacturing of these passports will begin after successfully completing the tendering and procurement process.

The idea of e-Passports was first floated in the country in 2007 post which India has issued approximately 20,000 official and diplomatic e-Passport with embedded chips on a trial basis. India also plans to introduce fully digital passports that can be stored on mobile devices. 

The government also said that it has selected Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for the next phase of the Passport Seva Program, which was launched in 2008. This program by TCS transformed the passport space into a digital one by providing services online and setting global benchmarks for reliability and timeliness.