The Central government is preparing to implement E-immigration using biometric technology at airports in India to ensure ease of travel for foreign travellers.
Speaking at a conference put on by the industry body Assocham, Scindia said, “One of the things that we are looking at doing, and this is in conjunction with the Union home ministry, is biometrics, and digitising immigration processes, and that process is on as we speak.”
“Certainly, a data bank or a repository has to be created based on which the throughput capability of our international airports also becomes much more seamless. On the immigration side, that is something we are working on.”–Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation
In the past month, during the busiest travel period, the country’s major airports, including those in Delhi and Bengaluru, saw congestion on a number of days. Currently, officials of the Bureau of Immigration, which reports to the Union Home Minister, performed the manual immigration screening process for international travellers at airports.
Scindia urged Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which is owned by the GMR Group and runs the Delhi airport, and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), which is owned by Fairfax and runs the Bengaluru airport, to increase the adoption rate of DigiYatra in their terminals to ensure passenger convenience.
On December 1, Scindia introduced DigiYatra, a service that allows travellers to transit quickly through these airports by using facial recognition technology (by uploading their information and a photo on the app). Only domestic travellers presently have access to this amenity.
“The adoption rate of DigiYatra has also been tremendous. About 300,000 people have already downloaded the DigiYatra app at a time when it has been rolled out at only three airports.”
“I have given quite stiff targets (to DIAL and BIAL to ensure the adoption of DigiYatra) for the next quarter or so. What is amazing is the adoption rate in Varanasi airport, where it is almost 20 per cent. This means one in five persons is not using the old orthodox system of passing through the airport.”–Jyotiraditya Scindia
He claimed to be keeping an eye on DIAL and BIAL’s implementation of DigiYatra. At the airports in Delhi and Bengaluru, adoption rates are gradually rising.
“It has not been implemented across the airport (in Delhi and Bengaluru). I have given them a certain time span by which it needs to be at every entry gate and every boarding gate. Then, you can leave it to the traveller whether he or she wants to go through the manual check-in and manual security check, or use DigiYatra app.”––Jyotiraditya Scindia
The creation of automated immigration clearance lanes at airports has begun at airports across the world!
At Changi Airport in Singapore, the nation’s citizens, permanent residents, and holders of long-term passports use automated lanes to have their iris and face biometrics cleared at the immigration checkpoint when entering or exiting the nation. This feature is only available to foreign visitors at the time of departure from Singapore. It’s anticipated that this facility will be made available to all travellers through Changi Airport this year.
In July 2021, Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation installed “Face Pass”, a facial recognition system that will allow passengers to board a flight without a boarding pass.
Other airports all across the world have begun to issue boarding passes for flights using face biometrics, including Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport, Frankfurt Airport, Munich International Airport and few airports in the USA.
Source: Business Standard