Passports to remain as the valid address proof: CentreLast updated on Jan 30, 2018, 10:32 pm
Earlier, the External Affairs Ministry said it would stop printing the last page of the passport, leaving it blank, which means passports wouldn't be a valid address proof.
However, it has issued a statement today that it would continue with its current process for printing the last page.
It also clarified that no separate, orange colored jackets for ECR passport holders would be issued.
No orange colored passports for ECR category
Days after announcing that it would issue "orange colored passports" to people belonging to "Emigration Check Required (ECR)" category, the Center has withdrawn the plan.
This follows the flak it received for the "discriminatory" decision to issue different-colored passports to ECR category: people who haven't passed Class-10 examinations.
External Affairs Ministry stated it would continue with the existing practice for issuing passports.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar's statement
"After comprehensive discussions with the various stakeholders, the Foreign Ministry has decided to continue with the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with orange color jacket to ECR passport holders."
Govt. wanted to protect ECR passport holders from exploitation
Earlier in January, announcing its decision to introduce orange passports for ECR-category, the government said it aims to protect laborers vulnerable to exploitation abroad.
But there have been protests and representations against this decision; so, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reviewed it, following which it was scrapped.
Indian passports currently come in three colors: white (government officers), red (diplomats), and blue (the rest).
Separate passports could lead to discrimination against laborers: Rahul Gandhi
The government was criticized by many, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who said that its decision to introduce color-coding in passports would lead to discrimination against illiterate and poor laborers.
Rahul Gandhi argued that migrant Indian workers could be treated like "second class citizens" abroad due to such passports, which is "completely unacceptable".
He added, "This action demonstrates BJP's discriminatory mindset."
ECR passport required for traveling abroad for work
ECR category passport is required for Indian applicants who haven't passed tenth standard but want to travel abroad for work to these 18 countries: Libya, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Sudan, UAE, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brunei, Malaysia, Syria, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
Such applicants need to get "Emigration Clearance" from the Protector of Emigrants' office every time before they leave India.