The Ministry of External Affairs will soon issue new passports without the last page that contains the residential address of the holder, which means that it may not serve as an address proof in the near future.
Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the decision was taken based on the recommendations of a three-member committee comprising officials from the Ministry of External Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The ministry has examined the recommendations of the committee, examined the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation 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,” Kumar added.
The last page contains information such the name of the father, mother, spouse, address, Emigration Check Required (ECR) and the old passport number.
Passports are issued in three colours – government officers and people who travel to other countries for the Centre carry white passports, diplomats carry red ones and all others carry blue ones.
The regular blue passports also have two categories – one where emigration checks are required and the other where they are not. Since the last page of the passport, which usually carried this information, will not be printed anymore, the ministry will make the passports of those in the emigration checks category orange.
The changes will not affect people holding the old passports, which will continue to remain valid till they expire.
The Indian Security Press in Nasik will begin making the new passports soon, Kumar said, adding that till they are designed, manufactured and made available to the ministry, the last page will continue to have the details.
The Passport Office and Immigration Department will still store the addresses in their systems, the Hindustan Times reported. “The decision to keep the last page of the passport blank was made to protect the citizens’ details,” Surendera Kumar, the under secretary of policy and legal matters at the Consular, Passport and Visa Division of the ministry, told the daily.