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GoI changes biometric rule for infants; Kolkata based social worker behind move

GoI changes biometric rule for infants; Kolkata based social worker behind move

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 28 Dec 2017, 05:46 pm

New Delhi/Kolkata, Dec 28 (IBNS): Months after promising change, the Indian Government has finally nodded in favour of altering biometric procedures for infants.

Earlier, even newborns were required to be physically present at the passport registration office to obtain one. Following the new order, kids below the age of five have been exempted from going though the previous procedure of registering their finger prints (10 fingers).

The move was considered after the Ministry of External Affairs received a petition from Kolkata based cultural activist and social worker Sundeep Bhutoria.

In his letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Bhutoria had expressed his concern about health safety of infants inside passport offices.

"I would like to draw your kind attention to the fact that, as per the extant norms, an infant born in India has to be taken to the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) office in order to comply with the formalities of getting a passport done," he said.

"This is a very worrisome experience for those parents who find themselves in a situation where they need a passport for their days-old infant. It is also fraught with consequences as the infants are susceptible to diseases and infections and the risk of contracting it is very high. Since the PSK offices are visited by too many people, maintaining a proper sanitized environment conducive for the infants is not always possible," Bhutoria added.

Urging the ministry to look for an alternative, he said, "I also feel that there is a need to re-evaluate the necessity of fingerprinting new-borns and work out viable alternatives.”

According to VK Singh, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, infants will not be required to give biometrics to the passport authority, however, they will be required to be physically present, in order to be photograpped.

In a written reply in the the Lok Sabha, he said, "The ministry has exempted infants/minor children up to the age of five years from giving biometrics (10 fingerprints) to the passport issuing authority for processing their applications related to passport services."

Answering a question whether the government has received any representation on biometrics, Singh said, "Yes. The Ministry of External Affairs received a representation requesting for reconsidering the policy that requires the physical presence of newborns at the Passport Seva Kendra for biometric finger print for issue of passports."

According to the new norm, biometric information will be obtained once a child reaches five years of age.

The information will then be added to the concerned person's previous and new passport.

People with no or partial limbs have also been exempted from the process.

GoI changes biometric rule for infants; Kolkata based social worker behind move

India Blooms News Service
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