Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday said that the government is planning to issue e-passports to its citizens, starting in 2022-23. Muraleedharan's remarks came in Rajya Sabha in reply to a question on the government's plans for the issuance of e-passports in the calendar year 2022 and its details.
The MoS informed that the e-passport will be a combined paper and electronic passport, with an embedded Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and antenna embedded as an inlay in the back cover.
"The passport's critical information will be printed on its data page as well as stored in the chip. The characteristics of the document and the chip are specified in International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) document 9303," said Muraleedharan.
Muraleedharan further said that the Ministry of External Affairs has entrusted the National Informatics Centre (NIC) with the technical responsibilities in the context of the issuance of e-passports.
"The e-passports will be produced by the India Security Press, Nashik, which has issued letters of intent for the procurement of 4.5 crore ICAO-compliant electronic chips along with its operating system," he stated.
The MoS informed the upper house that sample e-passports are currently being tested and the full-scale manufacture and issue will commence with the completion of the technical eco-system and infrastructure.