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New Delhi, Dec 15 – Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that the ePassport project is under testing and its pilot-launch will commence soon.

In a written reply to a question regarding e-Passport service, Muraleedharan said after the successful pilot launch of e-Passport, it will be rolled out in phases across the country.

The ePassport service is not yet launched by the government, the Minister said.

He said e-Passport is a combined paper and electronic passport with an embedded Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chip and an antenna embedded as an inlay in the back cover.

The passport’s critical information will be printed on its date page as well as stored in the chip. The main benefit of the ePassport is its enhanced ability to maintain the integrity of its data.

The ePassport has the data in printed form on the booklet, as well as digitally stored in the chip, thus making it harder to forge, Minister said in the upper house.