IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will roll out chip-based e-passports by the end of this year, a news report said. The company will also set up a new command and control centre with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and a new data centre that will support all the backend requirements of the project, a report by The Economic Times said.
TCS is working on a passport project with the government as earlier this year, the MEA renewed its 10-year Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) deal worth more than Rs 6,000 crore with the firm. The project is India’s largest mission-critical governance programme to date, the report said.
Here’s everything you need to know about e-passports:
While it might seem like a regular passport, an e-passport comes with a small electronic chip inside it, similar to a driver’s license to some extent. The chip will store all information of the person printed on the passport, such as name, date of birth, address and more.
E-passports, which will have Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and antenna embedded as an inlay in the back cover, will help officials verify a traveller’s details quickly. The passport holder’s information will be stored in the chip and the passport’s data page.
With the issuance of e-passports, the government aims to reduce the circulation of fake passports by enhancing security and reducing duplication and data tampering.
When will government roll out E-passports?
The MEA is looking at a launch timeline for chip-based e-passports within 2022, a TCS official told The Economic Times.
The passports already in circulation will remain valid as they are. They will be replaced with e-passports as and when they are renewed.
TCS will also set up a new command and control centre with MEA to roll out new e-passports. The IT firm is also planning to refresh the existing PSKs and systems and build a new solution for issuing chip-based passports.
What other nations have chip-based passports?
More than 100 nations, like Ireland, Zimbabwe, Malawai, India’s neighbours Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, have rolled out e-passports, as per the data by the International Civil Aviation Organization.