Indians will soon get e-passports to keep their identity and travel data. With the government's approval, a global three-way tender has already been floated to acquire electronic contactless inlays as well as the operating system for the manufacturing of e-passports. The inlays to be acquired for e-passport will comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
The technology to be used in the Indian e-passport has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and India Security Press (ISP) and the Ministry of External Affairs officials. The new passport will come with an inlaid chip which will carry the personal information of the holder as well as the travel details.
The system will be placed in the back of the passport and will sport a chip with 64 kilobytes of storage space and an embedded rectangular antenna. It will carry information for up to 30 visits, for now. Later on, it will also store the photograph of the passport holder and even biometric data like fingerprints too.
This chip is expected to provide a more secure way to store the passport holder's data as any attempt to tamper with the chip will result in failure of passport authentication. The chip has reportedly been designed in such a manner that the data on it cannot be accessed remotely. The first testing of the chip has already been done in an US-based laboratory, reports suggest.
Additionally, in use cases, the chip is expected to convey data at airport counters within minutes and save time and hassle on part of the passengers and the airport staff.
The new chip-carrying passport will also have thicker covers and better pages. This is in line with the statement by MoS for External Affairs General (Retd) VK Singh in the parliament during the recently concluded Winter Session that work is underway to issue chip-embedded e-passports with better paper quality.