New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs, today, announced that it is working on a chip-enabled e-passport for improving the quality and security features of the passport booklet.

“The Ministry has initiated discussions with the India Security Press regarding the project for issue (sic) of chip-enabled e-passports to the citizens,” said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Addressing at the celebration of Passport Seva Divas, Jaishankar said, “We propose to pursue the manufacture of e-passports on priority so that a new passport booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out in the near future.”

India Security Press, Nashik, will be working on the chip-enabled e-passports.

Last year, during the Passport Seva Divas, the mPassport Seva Mobile App and ‘Applying for a Passport from anywhere’ scheme were launched.

“The ‘Passport from Anywhere’ initiative enabled applicants to apply for a passport from any Passport Seva Kendra even if it was not situated within the jurisdiction of the residential address of the applicant,” said Jaishankar.

One can now apply for a passport, pay the fees and schedule an appointment through the app using a mobile phone.

Since January 2017, 412 Post Office Passport Seva Kendras have been opened, which has taken the total number of Passport Seva Kendras in the country to 505, with the 93 Passport Seva Kendras which were already functional.

To ease up the process, the number of documents acceptable as proof of date of birth has been increased and the number of additional documents which were required to be submitted with the passport applications has been rationalized.

Those applying for a passport under the ‘Tatkaal’ Scheme are no longer required to submit a Verification Certificate from a Gazetted Officer.