The new age e-passports are expected to be rolled out in the country by 2016, a top official said in Kochi today.
"We are going ahead and are in the process of tendering. By 2015-16 we should be able to achieve e-passport," Muktesh K Pardeshi, Joint Secretary (PSP) and Chief Passport Officer, Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters in Kochi.
The External Affairs Ministry has plans in place and necessary orders in this regard have been issued, he said.
Also known as biometric or digital passports, these will have an embedded microprocessor chip.
India, which attained the distinction of being the third largest passport issuing country after China and US last year by processing one crore applications, is aiming at 20 per cent growth this year, he said.
Kerala, where 10 lakh applications were received and processed, topped among the states, while Malappuram registered maximum applications among districts in the country, he said.
During January to December 2014, 1.01 crore applications for passport and related services were processed by the External Affairs Ministry. While 87.03 applications for passport and related services had been received, 84.69 lakh passports and related documents had been issued through the Passport Seva System, Mr Pardeshi said.
During 2014, there was a 15 to 20 per cent growth in the issuance of passports compared to 2013, he said.
The government is expected to earn a revenue of about Rs 2000 crore by March this year by issuance of passports as compared to 2013-14 fiscal when the revenue was Rs 1,800 crore, he said.
A total of 3,224 official passports and 283 diplomatic passports were issued last year through the PSS, he said.
Besides, about 14.95 lakh applications were received at the 183 Missions and Posts abroad and approximately 14.55 lakh Passport and related serves were rendered at these Missions and Posts, he added.