Learn about the e-passport announced in the budget
In her speech about the budget that she delivered on Tuesday (the 1st of February 2022), Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned e-Passport. He stated that the electronic passports that come equipped with silicon chips will be made available to the general public sometime between the years 2022 and 2023. Since then, there has been widespread speculation that this action on the part of the government will not only make it simpler to travel to other countries but will also put an end to the lucrative business of those who make fake passports.
You are probably wondering what exactly an electronic passport is at this point in time. What is the plan for this What makes this new passport different from the one currently in use? Please fill us in on the responses to these questions.
What is an e-passport
It is analogous to the paper passport that is still in use today. Simply put, it’s a combination of different kinds of technology. A silicon chip will be embedded in the electronic passport, and this is where the traveler’s information will be digitally stored. Your electronic passport will keep your biometric information secure as well. These passports will be manufactured in accordance with international standards, which are established by the International Organization for Standardization (ICAO). The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a United Nations agency that is in charge of regulating aviation policy.
Electronic passports will have a higher level of security than paper passports. The information that is printed on the paper passport will also be printed on the silicon chip, including your name, date of birth, address, and any other data that pertains to traveling outside of the country. It is anticipated that the use of electronic passports will make traveling less cumbersome. Will reduce the amount of time spent waiting in line at the immigration counter. Because the process of scanning an e-passport will only take a fraction of the time that is required to physically verify a traditional passport.
Aside from this, the fact that the data will be stored in the silicon chip means that it will be impossible to make any changes to it. In regards to the e-passport system, we regret to inform you that there has been absolutely no progress made. There are currently 120 countries around the world that use this system. The United States, England, and Germany all currently have working versions of their biometric electronic passport systems.
History of e-Passport
By the way, in 1998, when the International Civil Aviation Organization had not even begun to formulate policies for it on a global level, the first e-passport was issued to a citizen of Malaysia by that country. In 2004, Belgium became the first country to issue an e-passport in accordance with ICAO standards. This was 6 years after Malaysia was the first country to issue an e-passport.
E-passports are not an entirely novel concept in our country either. The then-UPA government distributed 20,000 electronic passports to high-ranking officials and diplomats in the year 2008. In the year 2020, Bangladesh has become the first country in South Asia to issue electronic passports, making it the leader among South Asian nations.
What difference is the e-passport going to make?
At the moment, passengers are required to spend a significant amount of time completing all of the necessary formalities at the immigration counter. This is because the relevant officials physically inspect each and every aspect of the paperwork.
Because everything will be known after just one scan, it will decrease by a significant amount once electronic passports are introduced. The fact that the digital data is being saved means that it will be simple to identify the passenger. There will also be a prohibition against individuals who forge fake passports. There will also be a digital signature on the e-passport, and this signature will be one of a kind for each country. This is not hard to verify at all.
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