New biometric passport in India could debut by year end
The delayed debut of electronic passports in India by Tata Consultancy Services could occur by year end, according to reports. The software services firm is working with the government to expand supporting infrastructure, too.
Originally due last year, new passports will contain computer chips in line with ICAO standards for biometric travel documents, according to the Economic Times. A shortage of chips likely played a part in the delay of the identity documents and infrastructure update.
In February, the central government boasted that the document would carry a radio frequency ID chip loaded with the passport holder’s biometric information. The chip is tamper-evident, making it more secure than the legacy passports.
Pilot tests involving 20,000 residents and diplomatic officials last year appear to have been successful. A new command-and-control center is being moved from Tata facilities to t Ministry of External Affairs. A back-end data center is being built as well.
All 93 passport seva kendras, which are remote offices for applying for travel documents, are being updated as well with online services as a step toward eliminating passport officers for these services.
The work is part of a $1 billion service contract that Tata won earlier this year.