Udayavni Special

Issuance of machine-readable passports, change of design among steps to make them secure: MEA


PTI, Jul 5, 2019, 10:16 AM IST

New Delhi: Issuance of machine-readable passports with improved security features and changing the design with reverse stitching and non-tearable papers are among steps taken by the government to make the travel document more secure, the External Affairs Ministry said.

Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs V Muraleedharan said measures have been put in place by the ministry to prevent usage of fake passports. The steps include issuance of machine-readable passports with improved security features and in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines.

“Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) has been included in the passports. Details available in MRZ are proving instrumental in detection of forgery in passports,” he said.

He said the government has changed the design of Indian Passports with reverse stitching and non-tearable papers to make it more secure.

Installation of Passport Reading Machines (PRMs) and Questionable Document Examiner (QDX) machines at international check posts for verifying the genuineness of the passports and detection of sophisticated forgeries in the travel documents have also been done by the Ministry, he said. Installation of Immigration Control System (ICS) software which verifies the passport details of passengers to prevent impersonation is one of the steps taken by the government, he said.

Other measures taken to make passports more secure include introduction of Supplementary Letter Screen Image (LSI) to prevent any forgery in data pages.

“The passport database of the Ministry of External Affairs has been integrated with Immigration Control System of Bureau of Immigration, which helps in detecting fake/forged Indian passports at the Immigration Counters on real-time basis and strict legal action as per law is taken against persons found involved in forgery of passports,” he said.

Responding to another query, Muraleedharan said it has been brought to the attention of the Ministry about the existence of some websites which are fraudulently claiming to make passports.

“Steps have been taken by the Ministry to spread awareness about such fraudulent websites and issue advisories through the social media. Citizens have been advised to use the official passport portal (www.passportindia.gov.in) of the Ministry in order to avail passport related services,” he said.

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