The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that the new 'lotus' symbol on Indian passports is part of enhanced security features meant to identify fake passports. "This symbol is our national flower and part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The External Affairs Ministry also added that the government would be using other national symbols 'on rotation' for the same purpose. "Apart from lotus, other national symbols will be used in rotation, right now it is lotus, and then next month there will be something else. These are symbols connected with India such as national flower and national anthem," he said. Kumar added the new security features were introduced as part of International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines.
The Congress party has questioned Modi government over replacement of 'Lion' with 'Lotus' symbol on Indian passports. Congress MP MK Raghavan alleged that "lotus emblem" was being printed on new passports. He said such passports had been issued in his Kozhikode constituency.
Raghvan said that the lotus symbol was printed inside a rectangle on the page near passport officer's signature and seal. He said the matter was highlighted by one of the newspapers and alleged that this was a case "further saffronisation". Lotus is the party symbol of the BJP.
Raising the matter in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Raghvan demanded the immediate withdrawal of such passports and a high-level inquiry into the matter.