E-passports are the next big talking point for the country, as Indians will soon be issued chip-based e-passports in place of paper passports. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, , while addressing the ceremony at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD), said work is on to issue chip-based e-passports to Indian citizens under a centralised passport system.
"Our embassies and consulates are being connected to the Passport Seva Project worldwide," he said addressing the inaugural ceremony of PBD 2019. He further mentioned that the government is working on a centralised passport system, wherein all passport services will be provided from consulates and embassies across the world.
Referring to this development, the Prime Minister also stated that the government is making efforts to simplify the process of issuing visas to PIO (persons of Indian origin) and OCI (overseas citizen of India) cards.
The e-passports will have all the personal details of the applicants, digitally stored and signed in the chip. This means, when anyone tempers with the chip, the system will be able to identify it, which will eventually lead to the failure of passport authentication. Also, information access is protected in such a manner that the chip cannot be read without physical possession of the passport.
The software for e-passports has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and IIT-Kanpur, and no commercial agency is involved in the process. The memory space of the said chip will be 64 kilobytes, whereas information of around 30 international movements and visits can be stored.