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It is another step towards a digital India. If things go according to plan, you will soon you will be holding a digital chip based passport issued under a centralised passport system where all the passport services would be provided from the consulates and embassies around the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced this venture, "work is on for issuing of the chip based e-passport”. So what is this move exactly?
What is an E-Passport?
E- Passport is a chip based passport where all the biometric and personal information would be stored digitally in the chip allowing digital authentication of the data. The chip will be embedded in the cover of the passport indicating that it cannot be accessed without its physical possession. Providing a space of 64KB the passport can store the information about 30 international visits.
What benefits does an E-Passport bring?
The chip cannot be duplicated as it contains a random serial number which cannot be read or copied which stays as the ID of the chip. Every detail in the chip such as fingerprints, photographs, name etc have a unique authorisation number and any change can be easily detected as the number won’t change. If the invisible chip undergoes any tampering then it will lead to failure of passport authentication. The e-passport raises the level of security as it will be difficult to forge an e-passport but also becomes expensive due to the technology used.
When will we get it?
Although there was no mention of dates during the Prime Minister’s address, the e-passports would be initially brought to the diplomats around the world and later to the citizens. The work to develop the digital passport is in its starting phase and would take some time to be a reality. The software for the e-passport is being developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and IIT Kanpur without the involvement of any commercial organisation.
In another good news, the Prime Minister also promised to simplify the process of issuing visas for Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders to make sure they feel safe in every corner of the world. Currently about 120 countries issue digital passport and India would soon join them.
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