June 6, 2013 -
No strangers to massive biometric deployments, Indian government officials have announced plans for a biometric passport for its citizens, though considering the amount of work involved, no timeline can be announced.
This is the essence of what India’s Chief Passport Officer Muktesh K Pardesi said in a report in the Business Standard earlier this week.
“The ministry has invited international bids for chips,” Pardesi is quoted to have said. “The Home Ministry also has a role to play to check the credentials of the companies as security is involved in it. Once it is done, the India Security Press would be able to finalise the design.”
“We wanted to launch biometric passport system last year and had started collecting biometric details of applications also but it could not be achieved and I cannot give any time limit even now,” Pardesi said.
As we reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, biometric passports were pilot tested in the country in 2008, and were issued to diplomats and other high-level officials.
Reported in iGovernment.in, the new passports contain an RFID chip in the front cover which holds a digital photograph of the passport holder as well as biometric fingerprint information.
Previously, it had been reported that Indian passports would carry biometrics starting this year. According to a report in the Times of India, the Home Ministry would begin to incorporate biometrics into passport applications starting in 2013.
According to a SecureIDNews report from 2012, 93 out of 193 U.N member states were issuing e-passports at the time, with 21 additional countries ready to deploy the technology in the next 2 years. India is one of the latest to join this growing list.