ONE COUN­TRY, TWO PASS­PORTS

India Today - - INSIDE - By Su­jit Thakur

Per­haps hop­ing to catch the news cy­cle in a rare quiet mo-ment, the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs (MIA) waited for a Fri­day to an­nounce that new In­dian pass­ports would no longer con­tain its su­per-flu­ous last page, list­ing the holder's ad­dress and the names of par­ents and spouse. And that ap­pli­cants re­quir­ing an em­i­gra­tion check, that is those with less than a 10th-stan­dard ed­u­ca­tion, would be given pass­ports with or­ange sleeves. Ev­ery­one else, diplo­mats and of­fi­cials apart, would con­tinue with the stan­dard navy-sleeved pass­ports.

It took two clays for Congress presi-dent Rahul Gandhi to con­demn the de­ci­sion as ev­i­dence of the gov­ern­ment's "dis­crim­i­na­tory mind­set". Party spokes-man Ran­deep Sur­je­w­ala said the move ex­posed the 13JP's "ob­ses­sion" with saf­fron and re­it­er­ated Rahul's point about dis­crim­i­na­tion. Em­i­gra­tion clear-ance is typ­i­cally re­quired by work­ing class mi­grants to the oil-rich coun­tries of the Ara­bian Gulf. Not sur­pris­ingly, for­mer Ker­ala chief min­is­ter Oom men Chandy, whose state's econ­omy ben­e­fits sub­stan­tia I ly from Gulf re­mit­tances, was strongly crit­i­cal, ar­gu­ing that work­ers with or­ange pass­ports would be "treated with dis­dain" by their hosts. It's as if the gov­ern­ment were giv­ing for­eign gov­ern­ments of­fi­cial sanc­tion to dis­crim­i­nate be­tween In­dian cit­i­zens. Ker­ala chief min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan called on the gov­ern­ment to "rec­tify" its de­ci­sion, say­ing that two colours would "lead to a sit­u­a­tion wherein those who

SEE­ING RED OVER OR­ANGE The gov­ern­ment plans to is­sue In­di­ans with less than a 10th-stan­dard ed­u­ca­tion pass­ports with or­ange sleeves

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