India’s minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma has told local reporters that biometric passports will be issued to diplomats and officials this year, and to the general public next year.
It is believed that India has opted for decentralised registration of passports, with citizens applying for documents in offices serving each state of the sub-continent. The government expects passport applications to increase in the coming year.
As with most countries, Mr Sharma has confirmed that India’s ePassports will be valid for 10 years.
Speaking before the inauguration of a new passport office in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, he also told local reporters that the ‘cumbersome’ process of issuing passports has been simplified by reducing the number of documents to be provided by applicants.
Applicants will only need to provide three documents, including some form of photographic ID, rather than the 14 documents that were previously demanded.
The new passport office is the 32nd in the country, and similar offices are set to be established in the coming months.