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Explained: What’s behind the change of colour, trimmed information in new Indian passports

The government has decided to not print the last page of the passport, which contains information like the name of the passport holder’s father, mother or spouse, address, Emigration Check Required (ECR) and any old passport number with the date and place of issue.

Written by Sushant Singh | Updated: January 17, 2018 8:34 am
Existing passports continue to remain valid till the date of expiry in the passport booklet.

On Friday, the Ministry of External Affairs announced it would end printing family and address information in passports and offer a new jacket colour, based on an emigration check requirement status.

What changes has the government decided to bring to the Indian passport?

The government has decided to not print the last page of the passport, which contains information like the name of the passport holder’s father, mother or spouse, address, Emigration Check Required (ECR) and any old passport number with the date and place of issue. As the passport’s last page will not be printed now, passport holders with an ECR status would be issued a passport with an orange-coloured jacket. Those with non-ECR status will continue to get blue passports.

Why did the government decide to do this?

The government accepted the recommendation of a three-member committee comprising officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, seeking to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications, such as instances where a mother/child had insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport, and passport issues relating to children with single parents and adopted children.

Also Read | Passports may come without information on the last page

Consequent to that, the government is doing away with the printing of information contained in the passport booklet such as the name of the father/legal guardian, the mother, spouse and an address, contained in the last page of the passport.

By when will this be implemented?

No specific date for its implementation has been given as the Indian Security Press (ISP), Nasik, would be designing the new passport booklets in due course. Till such time as the new booklets are designed, manufactured and made available to the MEA, passports will continue to be printed with the last page. Existing passports continue to remain valid till the date of expiry in the passport booklet.

What types of passports are currently issued by the government?

Three types of passports are issued by the government:
(a) Regular Passport — this has a navy blue cover; it is issued to citizens for ordinary travel like vacations and business trips.
(b) Diplomatic Passport — this has a maroon cover; it is issued to Indian diplomats, top-ranking government officials (joint secretary and above) and diplomatic couriers.
(c) Official Passport — this has a white cover; it is issued to individuals representing the Indian government on official business.

Also Read | Orange passports: Government discriminatory towards migrant workers, says Rahul Gandhi

What is ‘ECR’ status?

As per the Emigration Act, 1983, certain categories of Indian passport holders require obtaining an ‘Emigration Clearance’ from the office of the Protector of Emigrants (POE) for going to certain countries. Thus, all regular passports are either endorsed with an ‘Emigration Check Required (ECR)’ status or with ‘Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR)’ status.

Emigration, as per the Act, means the leaving of India by any Indian citizen with the intent of taking up employment in certain foreign countries. These countries include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, the United Arab emirates and Yemen.

Who qualifies for ‘ECNR’ status?

There are 14 categories of citizens who automatically qualify for an ‘ECNR’ status, including all income tax payers, persons below the age of 18 years and above the age of 50 years and all persons having an educational qualification of 10th standard (SSC, Matriculation) and above.

The idea behind the ‘ECR’ is to ensure the safety of uneducated and unskilled Indian citizens, from the most deprived socio-economic strata, against prevailing legal conditions in certain foreign countries.

How is the ‘ECR’ noted in the passport?

For passports issued before January 2007, no notation on the last page of the passport means ‘ECR’; for passports issued in or after January 2007, no notation in the passport means ‘ECNR’. If an Emigration Check is required, there will be an endorsement in the last page of the passport regarding this.

This system will now be replaced with an orange-coloured passport, which will make immigration checks easier and more efficient, besides providing holders with help in foreign countries.

Why has the proposal to give an orange-coloured passport to citizens with an ‘ECR’ status attracted criticism?

Those criticising the issuing of orange-coloured passports to people with ‘ECR’ status claim that this amounts to discrimination and segregation of Indian citizens on the basis of their socio-economic status. Economically deprived Indian migrant workers going to jobs in the Gulf countries would be treated as second-class citizens because of the colour of their passport, critics say. As the navy blue passport is being freshly designed, the endorsement of the ECNR/ECR status could have been accommodated afresh in the new passport.

But is there any disadvantage of removing the last page of the passport for non-ECR passport holders?

The removal of the last page means that the passport could no longer be used as a documentary proof of address for an Indian citizen. As the passport was the only official document with mandatory police verification, it was the most reliable proof of address for any citizen. This would also not allow citizens to use their passport as a proof of marriage or parentage in certain cases.

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  1. S
    sarfras
    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm
    Get well soon
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. Babu Indian
      Jan 16, 2018 at 3:42 pm
      Muslims entering any country should be fully tagged as muslims and a micro chip should be attached to their arm so that they can be tracked by gps . I can guarantee this will eliminate terrorist activities 100 percent and save thousands of lives .
      (16)(42)
      Reply
      1. A
        Asif
        Jan 17, 2018 at 12:03 am
        MOST TERRORISTS IN INDIA ARE HINDUS NOT MUSLIMS: India's first, perhaps World's first terrorist was Godse, world's first terrorist mastermind was Savarkar. World's first terrorist organisations were Hindutva RSS, Hindu Mahasabha. World's first suicide bombers were LTTE Hindus by using women children. Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Hindu terrorists. Two prime ministers of india - Indira Rajeev Gandhi 2 CMs Beant Singh Assam CM were killed by non-Muslim terrorists in india with suicide bombs and guns even before Muslim knew ABC of terrorism. RSS terrorists came long before in 1925 with mission of hate. They tried to kill Gandhi ji with bombs many times before finally killed with guns. Who made those bombs? Muslim or rss terrorists? Godse circumcised disguised as Muslims media initially published "Muslim man killed Gandhi". Same tactics continues today - bombing in disguise by Hindutva RSS terrorists - Samjhauta blasts, Malegaon, Dulhe, Jama Masjid, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Dargah.
        (22)(18)
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        1. A
          Asif
          Jan 17, 2018 at 12:05 am
          MOST TERRORISTS IN INDIA ARE HINDUS NOT MUSLIMS: India's first, perhaps World's first terrorist was Godse, world's first terrorist mastermind was Savarkar. World's first terrorist organisations were Hindutva RSS, Hindu Mahasabha. World's first suicide bombers were LTTE Hindus by using women children. Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Hindu terrorists. Two prime ministers of india - Indira Rajeev Gandhi 2 CMs Beant Singh Assam CM were killed by non-Muslim terrorists in india with suicide bombs and guns even before Muslim knew ABC of terrorism. RSS terrorists came long before in 1925 with mission of hate. They tried to kill Gandhi ji with bombs many times before finally killed with guns. Who made those bombs? Muslim or rss terrorists? Godse circumcised disguised as Muslims media initially published "Muslim man killed Gandhi". Same tactics continues today - bombing in disguise by Hindutva RSS terrorists - Samjhauta blasts, Malegaon, Dulhe, Jama Masjid, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Dargah.
          (9)(10)
          Reply
          1. A
            Asif
            Jan 17, 2018 at 12:06 am
            Ajmer Dargah....many dots to join. Innocents Muslims are arrested with false charges acquitted after 10-23 years by communal system and many are killed in fake encounters. Did anyone tag Hinduism or Sikhism with terrorism? Then why hypocrisy when it comes to Islam/Muslims? Ever heard Muslim terrorism before 1000s state sponsored killing rape by Hindu terrorists after 400 years old Babri Masjid demolition in day light by 5 lakh Hindutva terrorists rapists with state support and even police involved in massacre of Muslims? Then first only bomb blast led by Dawood Ibraheem happened in Mumbai innocents killed and we condemn it Yakub Kasab hanged. Good but why all Hindutva terrorists are given freedom? Sadvi pragya, colonel purohit, Sunil Joshi are acquitted by the same NIA who accused them with evidences after changing govt. LTTE Hindu suicide bombers are not hanged, why? Is it banana republic or what?
            (11)(8)
            1. A
              Asif
              Jan 17, 2018 at 12:06 am
              Want to see terrorists's killing data? How many death by which terror group? When will people media change at ude be fair? Change the perspective you will see terrorism in all forms colours. Jai Sri Nathuram Godse!! Congratulations Dhongi Babas Babis, Sanathan Sanstha, Bajrang Dal, RSS, VHP, SHIV SENE, RAM sene, Hindu Sene, Sene, Hindu Samhati, Hindu Jagran Manch, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Hindu Kranti, Hindu Mahasabha, MNS, Durga vahini, Hindu Yuva Vahini led by MP "Yogi" Adityanath, Krishna sene, Hindu Defence League, Abhinav Bharat, dhongi Sadvis, Sadvas ...and all Hindutva terrorists - your epic time has been going on in india. MAXIMUM TERRORISTS ARE HINDUS NOT MUSLIMS: (Not that these terrorist didn't come up after foreign intervention millions murder like in Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan by bombing from sky) : scroll /article/718458/most-extremists-in-india-are-not-muslim-they-are-hindu
              (10)(8)
              1. A
                Asif
                Jan 17, 2018 at 12:07 am
                MAXIMUM TERRORISTS ARE HINDUS NOT MUSLIMS: (Not that these terrorist didn't come up after foreign intervention millions murder like in Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan by bombing from sky) : scroll /article/718458/most-extremists-in-india-are-not-muslim-they-are-hindu HINDUTVA TERRORISTS OPENLY JUSTIFYING KILLINGS: : coastaldigest /index.php/news/78794-bajrang-dal-activist-defends-killing-of-mm-kalburgi-says-prof-bhagawan-is-next-target
                (5)(8)
                1. Jo An
                  Jan 17, 2018 at 3:29 am
                  What ever in the past no one cares, In current world everyone know who doing this whole business now, bla bla wont make any difference to the way those people getting treated any where in the world .. even your aggregated reply proving it again and again..so sorry no one can change you guys..
                  (6)(7)
                2. A
                  Asif
                  Jan 17, 2018 at 12:11 am
                  Any country in world where terrorism is "Legal" based on Religion? U can't expect Osama Bin Mosque anywhere in world including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria but in India. Think how backward u Sanghi people are : s: /watch?v eXXqGRD-AQQ
                  (6)(5)
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                  1. A
                    Asif
                    Jan 17, 2018 at 12:12 am
                    But Godse temples with millions followers in India.
                    (8)(7)
                  2. S
                    sarfras
                    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm
                    Get well soon
                    (0)(1)
                    Reply
                  3. Nitin Mathur
                    Jan 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm
                    This is absolutely derogatory step. Passport is the Only Citizenship document which Govt. of India issues and should necessarily include Fathers, Mothers and Spouse name as this combination is unique. Passport is the only official document in which the name of the MOTHER is clearly recognised and mentioned. The same is not there in PAN OR AADHAR. The excuse that the single mothers or unmarried mothers not able to disclose the name of spouse does not mean that the names of their parents cannot be captured or those who are proud to declare their parentage and spouse name should be put at a disadvantage.. While schools have now added a column to add Mothers name and give respect to Mothers the BJP govt. has chosen this Male Chauvinistic Approach in eliminating the field. Clearly, a retrograde step. It is bad that Women and Child Welfare Ministry should be used to make this recommendation and that this should happen when MEA Minister is a Mother herself.
                    (24)(3)
                    Reply
                    1. Hitender Jha
                      Jan 16, 2018 at 12:51 pm
                      Changing colour of passport jacket for ECR immigrants is not good move. These passport holders will be discriminated outside India as well. Instead link this information with AADHAR. This way tight security along with information security can be achieved. Appeal to MEA, please don't do this, lot of Indians anyways face discrimination in middle East. In digital world, colour of passport is not last resort.
                      (18)(1)
                      Reply
                      1. al kashka
                        Jan 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm
                        one more bad decision from government.. after demonstration....now we can all foreign airport separate Que fro orange passport holders..
                        (22)(3)
                        Reply
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