New generation e-passport featuring enhanced security features such as bio-metric details may soon be rolled out by the government.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said government was in the process of procuring devices for e-passport.
The e-passport is likely to secure the data and curb the menace of fake passports. An e-Passport contains an electronic chip. The chip holds the same information that is printed on the passport's data page.
"The Government has plans to issue e-passports to the citizens. The Government has given its approval for procurement of electronic contactless inlays for manufacturing of e-passports to India Security Press (ISP) Nasik.
"In this regard, ISP Nasik, has been authorised to float a global three-stage tender for procurement of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)-compliant electronic contactless inlays along with its operating system which is required for manufacture of e-passports," Mr Singh said.
He said manufacture of e-passport will commence on the successful completion of the tendering and procurement process by ISP, Nasik.
To a separate question, Mr Singh said the MEA has received a proposal from the Ministry of Women and Child Development for waiver of No Objection Certificate (NOC) required from a father in case a child travels to India on tourist visa.
He said MEA and Ministry of Women and Child Development have constituted a committee to effectively address issues like whether it should be mandatory to have the NoC of the father in case the parents are separated.
To another question, Mr Singh said as per information available with the Ministry, 78 Indian nationals were kidnapped in the last three years in foreign countries and out of them 33 have been released.