On Friday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the e-Passports would be secured by the Digital Signature of the issuing country, which will provide data authentication to the other countries, the citizens would to travel to. In his address to the Parliament today, he added that certain digital keys would also verify the e-passports at multiple stages.

In a view to clear the data security issue regarding the e-Passports, he added that the digital signature which will secure the data will be sent to other countries for recognition purposes. “The e-passports will ensure multiple layered security as the data will be on paper like regular passports and also on the verified chips”, he said.

This is after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget announcement affirmed that the government will roll out e-Passports from 2022-23 to enhance the convenience of the citizens. She also had said that the move to introduce E-passport would further enhance security and facilitate smoother international travel.

Jaishankar further stated that this is the right time for India to adopt chip-based passports as many other countries are already using it. Assuring that the government will start issuing chip-based passports in the coming six months, he informed that the letter of intent to procure 4.5 crores of chips and antenna for the process has been signed.

Meanwhile, DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran asked whether the government was planning to issue e-passports only in Gujarat, Mumbai and Delhi. Responding straight to the motivated question, Jaishankar added that the government has never discriminated among citizens of different states for passports.

“On passport side we have never discriminated in favor of any state or against any state. I resent that”, he said urging the DMK leader to not make such comments. The External Affairs Minister also stated that the time taken to issue the passports today has drastically improved and that the administrative processes at the airport have also improved.

MEA secretary Sanjay Bhattacharya had previously mentioned about e-Passport in his tweet. He had said that Nashik-based India Security Press was in the process of awarding a contract for the production of ICAO-compliant electronic chip inlays for passport jackets.

According to the reports, e-passports will use radio frequency identification (RFID) and bio-metrics to ascertain the identity of the individuals. The chip embedded e-Passports will help in securing the personal data of the passport holder like name, bio-metric details. In case there is tampering with the chip, the system will detect it and in such a case the passport will not be authenticated.

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