The new generation electronic passport, which aims to secure the data and curb the menace of fake passports, is likely to be introduced by next year.
These passports will have all the vital information including the digital signature of issuing authority helping immigration authorities, Muktesh Pardeshi, joint secretary and chief passport officer, MEA told reporters here on Friday. He said a task force headed by a special secretary in the ministry has already commenced work with the technology committee to assess the feasibility preparing the hi-tech passports with chip embedded in the one of the cover pages at the Nasik-based Indian Security Press. “The task force officials scrutinise the technical committee report before floating a tender,” Pradesh said hinting that the cost of the passport could also increase. He said the MEA has plans to issue one crore passports by 2014 as against the 85 lakh passports issued in India and 180 embassies and high commissions abroad during 2013. “Within two years we will even surpass the US and China in issuing passports and reach 1.20 cr passports pa mark,” he added.
The online Passport Seva Project initiated in PPP mode has been successful and the time to issue a passport has come down to a month.
85L passports issued
In 2013, the government of India has issued close to 85 lakh passports and other related documents globally and recorded a growth of 14-15% over 2012