MEA does a U-turn on pass­port re­vamp

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HINDUSTANTIMES HTNATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

NEW DELHI: Your pass­ports will re­tain the last page with your ad­dress and other per­sonal de­tails. Yes, they can be used as ad­dress proof. And, they won’t sport or­ange jack­ets.

Ow­ing to protests and con­cerns from var­i­ous quar­ters, the govern­ment has re­versed its de­ci­sion to re­vamp pass­ports, the min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs (MEA) said in a re­lease on Tues­day.

“Af­ter com­pre­hen­sive dis­cus­sions with the var­i­ous stake­hold­ers, the MEA has de­cided to con­tinue with the cur­rent prac­tice of print­ing of the last page of the pass­port and not to is­sue a sep­a­rate pass­port with or­ange colour jacket to ECR (em­i­gra­tion check re­quired ) pass­port hold­ers,” the min­istry said in the re­lease.

A de­ci­sion was taken by the min­istry on the rec­om­men­da­tions of a three-mem­ber committee com­pris­ing of­fi­cials of the MEA and the min­istry of women and child devel­op­ment, not to print the last page of the pass­port book­let. The MEA had de­cided to is­sue a pass­port with an or­ange jacket to hold­ers with em­i­gra­tion check re­quired (ECR) sta­tus, with a view to help and as­sist them on a pri­or­ity ba­sis. ECR sta­tus is is­sued to

ci­ti­zens who have not passed Class 10 and such pass­port hold­ers have to take clear­ance from the im­mi­gra­tion of­fice while trav­el­ling abroad for work.

The min­istry had re­ceived sev­eral in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tions re­quest­ing it to re­con­sider the two de­ci­sions.

“The de­ci­sion of MEA on both th­ese is­sues was re­viewed in the light of th­ese rep­re­sen­ta­tions,” said the re­lease.

With­out the last page, the prac­tice of us­ing the pass­port as an ad­dress proof would have stopped. The de­ci­sion to have an or­ange jacket, crit­ics said, would dis­crim­i­nate against ci­ti­zens on the ba­sis of ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

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