New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said that printing of lotus symbol on new passports is part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports and it also other national symbols will also be used on rotation. The statement comes amid protest by the opposition partied in the Parliament on Wednesday as lotus is also the election symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"This symbol is our national flower and is part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, adding that the other national symbols will also be used on rotation.
"Right now, it is lotus and then next month there will be something else. These are symbols connected with India such as national flower or national animal," Kumar said.
He further added that these security features have been introduced as part of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines.
Congress leader MK Raghavan had raised the issue in the Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour over the distribution of the new passports in Kozhikode, Kerala.
He said, "I urge the government to withdraw these booklets and initiate an inquiry into this."
In the new passport, the lotus symbol is printed on the second page. Earlier, the paged bored the seal of the passport officer and his signature. The separate columns used to write name and address has been removed in the new format. Also, some new codes have been added to the passports. All the 36 passport offices have started following the guideline. The new passports have been printed in Nashik's Currency Note Press. And, apart from the Ministry of External Affairs, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) is also involved in this work.