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ONCP submitted letter regarding passport reform proposal
January 20, 2018, 4:43 pm

The ONCP Kuwait, National Committee dismayed regarding passport reform proposals from MEA, India In a statement made to the media on 12 January, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced its decision to do away with the last page of the passport and other travel. The last page contains information such as the name of parents, spouse, address, Emigration Check Required (ECR) and old passport number with date and place of issue of the holder of the passport.

The current mandate on applying the visit/depend visa for Indian nationals through preparing the affidavit based on the applicant's passport last page shows there parents'/spouse details.  If the new passport is implemented, NRIs have to get a certificate showing family members and parents' names' (birth certificate) from their home cities, that requires attestation by the Indian ministry of foreign affairs, embassies of the home country, and attestation by respective country's foreign ministry. It will be very cumbersome to NRIs. Applying for visas to foreign countries will be a technical nightmare.

Furthermore, the proposal to issue 'an orange colored' passport for Emigration Check Required (ECR) categories of people was met with ire, as a social & cultural organization, ONCP believes it is discriminatory to segregate citizens who have not passed Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examinations

Different colored passport for ECR categories, will cause the social and economic divide in India and abroad leading to discrimination against poor and illiterate workers. An orange passport will in effect cause the holders to become second-class Indian citizens abroad and cause the changes in social respect and wages from employers.

Babu Francis (ONCP Kuwait National Committee President & Loka Kerala Sabha Member) sent a letter to Honorable External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to consider Indian expats concerns residing in the Gulf region.

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