In a bid to ensure a smooth immigration process, the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is expected to introduce new chip-based passports by the end of the year, reported The Economic Times.
The e-passport is part of the Indian government’s Passport Seva Project which was launched in 2008 to digitize the passport space and provide online services. The second phase of the project was bagged by TCS who will be rolling out the e-passports.
According to Tej Bhatla, head of TCS’s public sector business unit, the Ministry of External Affairs is “looking at a launch timeline within this year and we are working towards that.” He added that the new passports will be based on chips while the existing passports currently in circulation will be renewed.
Reportedly, the e-passports will be based on secure biometric data that would ensure smooth immigration process globally. It will be ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) compliant and will be introduced to curb forgery in the immigration process.
The chip embedded in the passport will store the biographical data and has a digital security feature. Every chip will have a unique digital signature for each country that could be verified using their certificates.
While companies globally are grappling with the semiconductor chip shortage, Bhatla said it is not likely to impact the e-passport project. “I think the demand is going to be fairly spread out and the government has already secured whatever they need for the next few months. We are in a relatively good state from an e-passport perspective,” said Bhatla.
Bhatla shared that the company is setting up new data centres for the project while the existing two centres will be refreshed. “So, we do have a lot of dependency on some of the hardware coming from outside the country,” Bhatla added.
TCS has chalked up plans to refresh its facilities and systems including hardware and build new solutions for the e-passport project. It has aimed at improving the experience of the users through chatbots, auto-response and use of biometrics among others.