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  1. E-passport era begins in Bangladesh Published: 22 Jan 2020 01:29 PM BdST Updated: 22 Jan 2020 01:29 PM BdST Bangladesh has taken another significant step in its digital transformation with the much-anticipated launch of electronic passports or e-passports. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the distribution of e-passports at an event in the capital’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Wednesday. Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, director general of the Department of Immigration and Passports or DIP, handed over an e-passport to Hasina at the inauguration ceremony. Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia and 119th in the world to introduce the e-passport, the home ministry said in a statement. The delivery of e-passports will start in regional offices by the end of 2020. The services will expand in phases. Machine-readable passports will remain valid as well. DIP will initially distribute e-passports form its Agargaon, Uttara and Jatrabari offices in Dhaka, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had previously said at a press briefing on Sunday. It will issue 48-page and 64-page e-passports with the validity of five years and ten years respectively. The decision on introducing digital passport comes less than a decade after Bangladesh switched from manual passport to the machine-readable passport or MRP. The government took the initiative to introduce e-passports in the wake of more than one passport being illegally issued against one person in the absence of database of fingerprints of citizens. In July last year, DIP sealed a more than Tk 30 billion contract with the world-leading identity solutions provider Veridos, a German joint venture, to introduce e-passports in Bangladesh. Under the agreement, the firm will deliver two million e-passport booklets, equipment with the capacity of producing 28 million passports, hardware, software and 10-year maintenance service.
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