India has decided to do away with the last page of the passport that contains the names of the spouse, parents and address of the passport-holder while changing the colour of ECR passports, largely availed of by unskilled workers seeking employment abroad, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.
Responding to queries, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that a three-member committee comprising officials of his ministry and the Ministry of Women and Child Development was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications where mother or child had insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport and also relating to passport issues to children with single parent and to adopted children.
"The report of the committee has been accepted by the ministry," Kumar said.
He said that one of the recommendations of the committee was that the External Affairs Ministry should explore the possibility of doing away with the printing of information contained in the passport such as names of father or legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address contained in the last page of the passport.
"The ministry has examined the recommendation of the Committee in consultation with various stakeholders, examined the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regarding machine-readable travel documents and decided that the last page of the passport and other travel documents issued under the Passports Act, 1967, and Passport Rules, 1980, would no longer be printed," the spokesperson said.
The last page also contains information such Emigration Check Required (ECR) and old passport number with date and place of issue of that passport.
"As the last page of the passport would not be printed now, the passport holders with ECR status would be issued a passport with orange colour passport jacket and those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport," Kumar said.
ECR passport holders require clearance from the Protector General of Emigrants to go abroad in order to prevent exploitation.
The Indian Security Press (ISP), Nasik, will be designing the new passport booklets in due course.
Till such time the new passport booklets are designed, manufactured and made available to the Ministry by ISP, Nashik, the passports and other travel documents would continue to be printed with the last page.
"The existing passports would continue to remain valid till the date of expiry printed in the passport booklet," Kumar confirmed.