All-round objection | MEA shelves plan to issue two colours for passports

New Delhi, Jan 31: After all-round objection from political parties and state governments, the Ministry of External Affairs has scrapped its plans to issue  orange colour jacket on passport to citizens with non-Emigration Check Required (ECR) status.

Political parties and state governments including Kerala had protested against the move terming the decision as ‘Unfortunate’. They pointed out that it will in effect create two different types of citizens, one with education and one without, which may result into discriminating citizens based on their educational qualifications.

The MEA had earlier decided to maintain blue colour jacket for others.

Now, with the roll back of the decision, the MEA would continue printing the last page of passports with ECR status.

Various Congress leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi had opposed the movesaying that  many skilled labourers going abroad are qualified less than class 10, thus qualified for orange colour passport only which will create discrimination.

Withdrawing the decision, MEA said that it is doing so after it received several representations against the earlier two decisions.

The MEA had earlier this month announced the two decisions that were rolled back on Tuesday. The earlier decision not to print the last page was taken after the MEA accepted the recommendations of a three-member committee appointed to look into passport changes.

Hearing a public interest litigation,  Kerala High Court on Monday had issued a notice to the Centre  over the decision to introduce orange colour jackets for passports of ‘unskilled’ workers, terming it as a violation of the fundamental right to privacy and dignity.