ONE COUNTRY, TWO PASSPORTS
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