‘Govt treating migrant workers like 2nd class citizens’.
New Delhi: The government’s decision that passport holders requiring emigration check would be given an orange-coloured passport while others will continue to get a blue one came under attack from Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday, who said that it shows the BJP government’s “discriminatory mindset”.
The MEA had in a statement last week said that the passport holders with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status would be issued a passport with orange passport jacket and those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport.
As ECR is mostly required by less skilled workers, Mr Gandhi said, that the move shows that the government was treating India’s migrant workers as “second class citizens.”
“Treating India’s migrant workers like second class citizens is completely unacceptable. This action demonstrates BJP’s discriminatory mindset,” he tweeted.
ECR or “Emigration Check Required” category is for applicants who haven’t finished school and are travelling abroad for work to a group of 18 countries, most of them in Gulf. They have to get an ‘Emigration clearance’ certificate from the office of Protector of Emigrants before leaving India. Most nations veer between black, blue, green and red for cover colour of passports, although cover colours can differ for their diplomats.
The MEA has not named a date for issuing the new passports. The existing passports will remain valid till they expire and will be replaced with the new version.
The recommendations for different passports was given by a three-member panel, comprising officials from the ministries of external affairs and women and child development. It was also decided that the last page of passports and other travel documents issued under the Passports Act, 1967, and Passport Rules, 1980, “would no longer be printed”, the MEA had said.
Thus passports also may no longer serve as a valid proof of address after the external affairs ministry decided not to print the last page of the travel document with the address of the holder. As of now, the last page of passports include the name of the father or the legal guardian, the names of the holder’s mother, spouse and their address.