Government backs down on orange passports after severe backlash

Weeks after announcing that Indian migrant labourers would be issued orange-coloured passports instead of the usual blue, the government yesterday backed down on the issue after facing sharp criticism, from the Opposition.

According to the ministry of external affairs (MEA), the decision to continue with the current blue passports for all general sections was taken after ''comprehensive discussions.''

''After comprehensive discussions with the various stakeholders, the MEA has decided to continue the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport, and not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket to ECR (Emigration Check Required) passport holders,'' a release from the ministry said.

The release added that the decision was taken at a meeting chaired by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and minister of state for external affairs general VK Singh (retd), the release added.

The announcement reversed the 12 January decision whereby the MEA had sought to do away with the printing of the last page of the passport that contains the names of the parents of the passport applicant.

The government had also declared at the time, that the covers of the ECR category passports, catering to migrant workers from India, would be in orange instead of the usual blue.