The Ministry of External Affairs has decided retract its decision to issue passports with an orange jacket for ECR (emigration check required) passport holders and to remove the last page of the passport containing the names of father/legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address on Tuesday. This decision comes after many critics, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, said that the decision will lead to discrimination.
"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 colour jacket to ECR passport holders,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
The decision came after a review meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh on Monday, 29th January.
The orange colour passports were supposed to be issued to protect ECR passport holders from exploitation. The ECR holders are workers, who haven’t passed class 10 and travel to mostly Gulf countries for work. Prior to their travel, they have to obtain an 'Emigration clearance' certificate from the office of Protector of Emigrants before leaving India. India is close to 18 million Indians work in Gulf countries, bringing close to $69 billion revenue back home.
After a spate of protests by critics and Rahul Gandhi, who claimed that it will lead to discrimination among poor and illiterate workers, the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) reviewed its decision. A three-member committee, comprising of MEA officials and an official of the women and child development ministry, recommended Tuesday’s decision.