The procurement process for the production of chip-enabled ePassports is underway and their introduction will greatly strengthen the security of Indian travel documents, External Affairs S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
In his address on the occasion of the Passport Seva Divas, Jaishankar also said the government intends to open a Post Office Passport Seva Kendra in every Lok Sabha constituency.
“We have so far been able to provide for 488 Lok Sabha constituencies,” he said.
That process has stopped on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will move forward as the lockdown eases up, he said.
Jaishankar said his ministry is working with Indian Security Press, Nashik and National Informatics Centre for chip-enabled ePassports with advanced security features.
“I am very confident that the introduction of ePassports will greatly strengthen the security of our travel documents. I understand that the procurement process for its production is currently underway and I would emphasize the need to hasten that as much as possible,” he said.
“I emphasize that it is necessary to roll out the manufacture of ePassports on a priority basis,” Jaishankar said.
He said the focus must be on how to simplify the rules and processes without compromising legitimate security concerns which are at the heart of the reforms being undertaken by the government.
“We have seen a complete transformation in the passport delivery service, especially over the last six years,” he said.
The Passport Seva Divas is observed to commemorate the enactment of the Passports Act on June 24, 1967.