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Under fire for singling out poor, Govt scraps orange passport; will retain last page with address

On January 12, the MEA had announced that passports may soon not have the information printed on the last page, including names of father/legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: January 31, 2018 5:01 am
Govt scraps decision to print orange passports, to retain last page with address The reversal of decision was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday.

FACING CRITICISM from several quarters including the Opposition, the government has rolled back its decision to issue orange-coloured passports to those with “emigration check-required” (ECR) status. It has also reversed its earlier decision to scrap the last page of the passport which has personal details.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the decision was taken on Monday following several “individual and collective representations” against the move.

“At a meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on January 29, 2018, in the presence of General (retd) V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, the decision of the MEA on both these issues was reviewed in the light of these representations. 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-coloured jacket to ECR passport holders,” said the MEA statement.

Earlier, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said the decision to issue orange-coloured passports would lead to discrimination against India’s migrant workers, who would be treated like “second class citizens”. “This action demonstrates BJP’s discriminatory mindset,” he had said.

The ministry said it had taken the decision to drop the last page of the passport following the recommendation of a three-member committee, comprising

officials of the MEA and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, set up to look at issues related to passports of children of single parents and adopted children. It said the decision to issue passports with orange-coloured jackets to those with ECR status was taken with a view to assist them on priority basis.

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

On January 12, the MEA announced that it would scrap the last page of the passport, which has personal information including the names of father/ legal guardian, mother, spouse, address and ECR status. It said those with ECR status would be issued passports with orange-coloured jackets, while the others would continue to get blue passports.

Also Read | Orange-coloured passport: Kerala HC issues notice to Centre

There are 14 categories of citizens who automatically qualify for an ‘ECNR’ (emigration check not required) 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.

After the decision on orange-coloured passports was announced, a PIL was filed in Kerala pointing out that the move would make “their underprivileged status known publicly through separate colour code” and would be “a grave invasion of their fundamental right to privacy and dignity”.

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    Susheel
    Jan 31, 2018 at 12:31 pm
    I found this tucked away in the comments section. This is definitely a criminal enterprise. "Sathya Service Jan 31, 2018 at 9:30 am Do you want to donate your organ? We are here to help you with good cash to do anything you wish, Contact us if you are interested in donating your organ. Contact (sathyahome2018 ) call us or Whatsapp Number 8496850589" Funny how IE boasts of a vetting process that is more keen on screening criticism of Modi while allowing criminals to use their platform for nefarious activity.
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    1. S
      Susheel
      Jan 31, 2018 at 12:27 pm
      I just noticed this post tucked away in the comments section: "Sathya Service Jan 31, 2018 at 9:30 am Do you want to donate your organ? We are here to help you with good cash to do anything you wish, Contact us if you are interested in donating your organ. Contact (sathyahome2018 ) call us or Whatsapp Number 8496850589?" This is criminal activity and the Indian Express comments section is being used as a platform to promote it. Seems like your vetting process is more interested in screening of Modi but allowing criminal activity like the above is fine.
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      1. Mast Malang
        Jan 31, 2018 at 11:30 am
        This government is habitual offe_nder of Flip Flop.
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          joseph
          Jan 31, 2018 at 11:47 am
          Yes, the govt. should have looked into the consequences of an ORANGE colour! Since the govt. did not plan, it had to roll back the plan! Hello Mast Malang (good profile name!) may I take this opportunity to invite you to view my video - Homage to Pandit Nehru by p g joseph - in . I shall be thankful if you could also mark your like/dislike on the video. Thank you.
          (1)(0)
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        2. ASHOK
          Jan 31, 2018 at 9:38 am
          When will the Government start using the Brains before they finalize scheme.This is a U TURN sarkar
          (42)(0)
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            Swami
            Jan 31, 2018 at 11:40 am
            Saffron's with Brains, impossible.
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            1. J
              joseph
              Jan 31, 2018 at 11:50 am
              Good observation. The bjp regime is slowly losing its euphoria. Else one would not have found so much disagreement on your comments. Now bjp might have recognised the trauma/predicament of ruling a nation as diverse as India! Congress was an experienced regime though one doesn't deny that it has/had corrupt elements too!
              (3)(0)
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            2. Kim Sharma
              Jan 31, 2018 at 6:18 am
              Mitron, My report card of the last 4 years: 1) Almost all sectors of economy are in shambles meanwhile desperate efforts to dress up statistics continue 2) So pathetic in terms of job creation that govt desperately inflates employment figures by adding even pakoda sellers and sectors hitherto never part of labour data 3) Kashmir has been messed up to such an extent that the valley witnessed unrest for months. (Earlier, the situation was very much under control as was proved by increasing tourist visits to Kashmir in the last decade.) 4) Make- in-India scheme flops 5) Fails to execute major defence deals, though bolstering defence was a much-trumpeted pre-poll gimmick 6) Poor execution of demonetization scheme helps tax evaders to turn black money into white 5) Pak firing on Kashmir border is a daily affair since the beginning of Modi govt. (Border attacks became frequent once Modi took over in Delhi, proving his poor chowkidari skills...
              (32)(0)
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