The Indian passports will stay blue, with address of individuals printed on the last page as the Government has dropped the plan of revamping the passports after valid backslash from the opposition parties – which means, they will continue to be valid address proof covered in blue jacket, and not in orange.
Central government had planned to redesign the design of current Indian passport by colour coding it and granting an orange coloured passport to ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) passport holders – instead of blue. Also, the plan included removal of the address that is printed on the last page of the passport to ‘de-clutter’ the national document valid as a sole identity beyond Indian borders. The passport revamp plans and details were announced by the Ministry of External Affairs as per the recommendations of three-member committee of MEA officials and the Ministry of Women and Child Development. However, the government’s volte faced protests and backslash from the opposition parties who claimed the idea to be discriminatory.
The thing here is that as per the MEA announcement, every Indian citizen who requires an emigration clearance would be given passport with orange jacket, whereas the non-ECR passport holders would be given the existing blue ones. Significantly, ECR passport holders are the people with lower education – more specifically, those who have educational qualification beyond 10th grade, have less taxable income and who seek migration for employment. This means, the colour coding would lead to segregation of people based on their educational qualification and economic status. The passports are actually supposed to protect citizens in overseas lands, but discriminative passports would led workers and labourers abroad to be more vulnerable to harassment and exploitation because their status would become apparent due to orange colour.
Besides scraping down the idea of colour coding passports, the government has also announced on Monday that it will not discontinue printing the last page of the passport, which is used as a valid proof of address. Hence, the current passport design where details of passport holders, like the names of father/legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address will be contained in the last page of the passport which will be covered in blue jacket for common people. Hence, there will again be just three colour codes for Indian passports: White for government officers, red for diplomats and blue for everyone else.