India’s e-passport rollout to start by end of year: All you need to know

IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will roll out chip-based by the end of this year, a report said. The company will also set up a new command and control centre with the (MEA) and a new data centre that will support all the backend requirements of the project, a report by The Economic Times said.

is working on a passport project with the government as earlier this year, the MEA renewed its 10-year (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:

What are

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

The MEA is looking at a launch timeline for chip-based e-passports within 2022, a 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.

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.

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