//E-passports to replace booklets by 2013

E-passports to replace booklets by 2013

Thiruvananthapuram: E-passports, which could be the size of an ATM card, would replace present day passports by 2013, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahmed said here Friday.

"We have already begun work for this and we expect that by 2013 every passport holder would have an E-passport. This is part of an international agreement. With this, the entire problem of fake passports would be solved," the minister said while inaugurating new facilities at the passport office here.

He added that a decision was yet to be made on whether to issue e-passports in phases or at one go. Officials here said the e-passports could be as small as an ATM card with a chip on it instead of the far bulkier booklet.

Ahamed inaugurated three new facilities at the passport office here — a touch screen passport information kiosk, an electronically controlled token and queue management system and an automated telephone inquiry system in three languages.

The passport office here issued a record 132,000 passports in 2005.