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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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Bangladesh first South Asian country to introduce e-Passport

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2020/01/22/pm-inaugurates-e-passports-launching

With the formal opening, Bangladesh enters the e-Passport era as the first country in South Asia

Bangladesh has officially entered the era of e-Passports (electronic passport) as the first country in South Asia.

The introduction of e-Passports will undoubtedly brighten the country’s image further in the digital world, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday while inaugurating e-Passport services at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka, reports UNB.

“Bangladesh has advanced one more step in the digital era by undertaking the e-Passport project. We can provide e-Passports to people in the special year of the birth centenary celebrations of the Father of the Nation,” she said.

At the function, the prime minister received her e-Passport from Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal.

The e-Passports are now initially being issued from three offices — Uttara, Jatrabari and Agargaon — of the Department of Immigration and Passports in Dhaka. These offices have the capacity to issue 25,000 passports every day.

Noting that 118 countries around the world had already introduced e-Passports, she said: “Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia and 119th country in the world to introduce e-Passports.”

Hasina said the goal was to make passport and immigration services more time-befitting and so keeping pace with the developed world.

She said it had been heard that when expatriates returned home, they were subjected to various types of harassment. “People returning home and going abroad won’t be subjected to harassment in the future.”

Noting that the people of the country had achieved financial solvency with the development of the economy, she said now a large number of people went abroad and expatriates were making a significant contribution to the economy by sending remittances home.

“So, we're paying attention so that they [expatriates] are not be subjected to any kind of harassment,” said the prime minister.

The e-Passport and automated border control management project, involving a cost of Tk4,569 crore, is being implemented by the DIP and the German company Veridos GmbH with assistance from the Bangladesh Army under the Home Ministry’s Security Services Division.

A total of 30 million e-Passports will be issued in 10 years under the project.

The DIP and Germany Veridos signed an agreement on July 19, 2018 for issuance of electronic passports alongside machine-readable ones.

Digital revolution

The prime minister said her government had started issuing machine readable passports on November 24, 2015 and had now taken measures to provide e-Passports for 10 years beginning with the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“The government has taken passport, visa and immigration services to the doorsteps of people through 69 passport offices in 64 districts and 33 immigration check-posts around the country, and the passport and visa wings of 75 Bangladesh missions stationed in foreign lands,” she said.

In the past, there was a problem of fake passports, or “golakata passports,” in the country, but that will never happen again, she said.

She said people would not fall victim to deception as they, with e-Passports, would easily be able to complete immigration through e-Gates in a transparent way.

Mentioning that her party, the ruling Awami League, in its 2008 election manifesto had declared its goal of building the country as Digital Bangladesh, Hasina said Bangladesh had witnessed a digital revolution and the government had been able to provide internet services almost throughout the country.

She said her government’s goal was to take Bangladesh to a dignified position and to that end it had been working relentlessly.

She congratulated people as they would be getting e-Passports with the latest technology in the Mujib Year, or Mujib Borsho, which will be celebrated from March 2020 to March 2021.

Home Minister Kamal, Security Services Division Secretary Md Shahiduzzaman and German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz also spoke at the e-Passport launching ceremony yesterday.

DIP Director General Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed delivered the welcome speech, while e-Passport Project Director Brig Gen Saidur Rahman Khan made a presentation on e-Passport services.

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6 hours ago, Legionair said:

Any one knows if the epassport application process also available for NRBs to apply from out of the country ?

Don't expect anything, Bangladesh government is expert in ignoring NRBs like they don't exist, only time they remember us is when they need remittance.

They especially good at neglecting those of us in the Middle East who are the ones who actually send money back to the country after toiling in desert heat, instead of opening restaurants in England and then having kids who don't identify as bangali and who then have the audacity to call the motherland a shithole. 

The embassy staff where I live are uneducated and behave like kings, they behave like they're doing us a favour by attesting certificates.

 

Sorry for the rant. (edit)

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4 hours ago, Salted Cola said:

Don't expect anything, Bangladesh government is expert in ignoring NRBs like they don't exist, only time they remember us is when they need remittance.

They especially good at neglecting those of us in the Middle East who are the ones who actually send money back to the country after toiling in desert heat, instead of opening restaurants in England and then having kids who don't identify as bangali and who then have the audacity to call the motherland a shithole. 

The embassy staff where I live are uneducated and behave like kings, they behave like they're doing us a favour by attesting certificates.

 

Sorry for the rant. (edit)

You are not wrong and I was surprised to see some of the videos few years back on how Bangladeshi ambassador in Qatar giving speeches insulting NRBs or Embassy staff assaulting our hard working brothers or NRB kids being beaten up by local political thugs in Sylhet ! Can you blame them for calling that? Understandably government highest policy makers are doing their best but its the mid management is not doing enough. The incompetence and the arrogance of the officials are very unprofessional. I was once stopped at the airport by few undercover police tried something out of me but when they realized they will be in trouble they quickly cleared my way out. NRBs are not only can contribute by sending remittance but also offer expertise, knowledge and skills can have positive impact for the growth. By the way where you are residing?   

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4 hours ago, Legionair said:

You are not wrong and I was surprised to see some of the videos few years back on how Bangladeshi ambassador in Qatar giving speeches insulting NRBs or Embassy staff assaulting our hard working brothers or NRB kids being beaten up by local political thugs in Sylhet ! Can you blame them for calling that? Understandably government highest policy makers are doing their best but its the mid management is not doing enough. The incompetence and the arrogance of the officials are very unprofessional. I was once stopped at the airport by few undercover police tried something out of me but when they realized they will be in trouble they quickly cleared my way out. NRBs are not only can contribute by sending remittance but also offer expertise, knowledge and skills can have positive impact for the growth. By the way where you are residing?   

I was born and bought up in Kuwait but live in Germany now. As you can imagine the middle eastern countries treat Bangladeshis as dirt and I'm glad because it taught me that there's only one place on the planet that I can be safe from racism and from people who want to look down on me because of my race or nationality. 

I have always disliked going to the embassy in Kuwait, the staff are very very disrespectful and make a fuss about anything and everything. 

This was fine until my father died (Kuwait) and we couldn't lay him to rest until 6 days after due to the sheer incompetence and total lack of human compassion from the embassy staff. They aren't above letting a dead man rot until you pay them their bribe. In the end we had him laid to rest in Kuwait without the embassies consent and the authorities were very very respectful and helped us out as much as possible. The same Arabs who look down on you, atleast have the understanding that dead people need to be laid to rest asap. 

Another embassy fiasco in Berlin, they couldn't pay the rent for embassy building and were evicted. They then worked the services out of the ambassador's villa.  What they did with the money the government provides them with for embassy services and rent is anybody's guess.

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16 hours ago, Salted Cola said:

I was born and bought up in Kuwait but live in Germany now. As you can imagine the middle eastern countries treat Bangladeshis as dirt and I'm glad because it taught me that there's only one place on the planet that I can be safe from racism and from people who want to look down on me because of my race or nationality. 

I have always disliked going to the embassy in Kuwait, the staff are very very disrespectful and make a fuss about anything and everything. 

This was fine until my father died (Kuwait) and we couldn't lay him to rest until 6 days after due to the sheer incompetence and total lack of human compassion from the embassy staff. They aren't above letting a dead man rot until you pay them their bribe. In the end we had him laid to rest in Kuwait without the embassies consent and the authorities were very very respectful and helped us out as much as possible. The same Arabs who look down on you, atleast have the understanding that dead people need to be laid to rest asap. 

Another embassy fiasco in Berlin, they couldn't pay the rent for embassy building and were evicted. They then worked the services out of the ambassador's villa.  What they did with the money the government provides them with for embassy services and rent is anybody's guess.

May Allah grant your father jannah. It is a disgrace the way these embassy people treat others. Arrogance and corruption deeply rooted in our culture and within our society but a positive change is happening. 

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