Government's Orange Passport Plan Makes Rahul Gandhi See Red

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2018

The last page of the passport includes the father or legal guardian's name, the names of the holder's mother, spouse and their address. "The decision to keep the last page of the passport blank has been taken" to protect the details contained, he explained.

"The report of the committee has been accepted by the ministry", Kumar said.

The MEA is also considering changing the colour of passports. Right now, passports are issued in three colourred for diplomats;, white for government officers or to those people who visit different nations for the official work of the administration; and blue for all others across two classes - the people who immigration check (ECR) and the people who don't (ECNR).

The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday had said that those holding ECR status will be issued a passport with orange colour passport jacket, and those without ECR status will continue to get a blue passport.

India saw a rise of 30 percent in demand for passports following the liberalization of passport policies announced on 23 December 2016. The committee also looked upon the passport issues relating to the children with single parent and that of adopted children.

Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for changing the colour of passport, Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused the government of displaying a "discriminatory mindset".

After consulting the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding compatibility of passport booklets minus the last page, with Machine Readable Travel Documents, the MEA concluded that, "the last page of the passport and other travel documents issued under the Passports Act, 1967 and Passport Rules, 1980 would no longer be printed". In the case of ECR passport-holders, this status is provided on the same page.

Soon, however, those in the ECR category will have orange passports, Kumar said. The existing passports would remain valid till their date of expiry.

With these changes, the passports that require an emigration check may come in orange, to facilitate checks as it will be easier for security officials to identify which passports need a check and which do not.

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