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Union Budget 2022 | What are e-passports and how will they work?

Feb 01, 2022 / 02:25 PM IST

It is expected that the next-generation passports will ensure the security of biometric data and facilitate smooth passage through immigration posts worldwide.

While presenting her Budget speech on February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will roll out e-passports in FY22-23.

"The issuance of e-passports will be rolled out in 2022-23 to enhance convenience for citizens," Sitharaman said as part of her Budget speech today.

Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, had recently said that India could soon start issuing e-passports that will use radio-frequency identification (RFID) and biometrics.

Bhattacharyya had said that the new passports would significantly ease passage through immigration check-ins and will be compliant with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

COVID-19 Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
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The jackets of the new passports are expected to include an electronic chip with vital security information encoded on it.

But how is an e-passport different from a regular passport?