The Indian Government has always embraced technology to simplify processes and make life easier for its citizens. Now it is all set to introduce Biometric Passports, or E-Passports to curb the menace of passport forgery.
Minister of State for External Affairs, V K Singh, revealed in the Lok Sabha that every Indian citizen would soon be getting an e-passport. They have already started the procedure to acquire the necessary infrastructure to manufacture these passports. But what exactly are e-passports and what are its advantages over the regular passports?
What are biometric or e-passports?
An e-passport is a passport that contains biometric information of the passport holder. The booklet itself contains a chip that uses contactless smart card technology. This chip holds biometric information like the fingerprint and iris scan of the passport owner along with all the information of the citizen that is printed on its pages like the passport holders name, address, date of birth, etc.
While the details page of the regular passport usually contains the information of past travels of the passport holder; the newer e-passports will also hold this information within its chip. Airports will also be updated with contactless smart card technology that can read the information on these chips. All the digital information will be protected with enhanced digital security, and only authorised systems will be able to read the information.
Why do we need e-passports?
An e-passport contains all the information printed in a digital format. Thus, it enhances the security of these details and protects the identity of the passport holder. Passport forgery and fake passports are rampant in our country because it is relatively simpler to forge a regular passport. But forging a biometric passport is a more challenging and expensive task. Also, since the digital information will be now be read by a computer, immigration checks and other formalities will become easier and quicker.
A majority of other countries have already jumped on the e-passport bandwagon, and it is welcome news that our nation is ready to update to the latest technology.
Advantages of e-passport over the regular passport
All details will not only be printed on the pages but will be stored in a digital format on a microprocessor chip.
The chip can store biometric data like facial recognition, fingerprint scan and iris scan. Currently used regular passports only make use of the photograph to help identify the passport holder.
Enhanced security of digital data makes it cumbersome and expensive to forge an e-passport, thus protecting the user’s identity.
Digital Verification of the holders identify will allow quicker immigration checks and make travel hassle-free.
The only downside to this announcement is that these new passports may be slightly costlier than regular passports. Minister V K Singh has not yet revealed the pricing change or when these new passports may be available. But nevertheless, we citizens welcome this news and are waiting with great anticipation for these new passports to roll out.