China doesn’t need alliance to tackle India, changing visa norms will hurt New Delhi: Global Times



New Delhi on Saturday had said that visas for Chinese nationals — businessmen, students, advocacy groups and others — must be issued only after prior security clearance. 

NEW DELHI: Responding to India’s reaction to China and Pakistan mentioning Kashmir in their joint statement following the foreign ministers’ meeting, Beijing on Monday said that India has misinterpreted the remarks.

“India may see the dialogue between China and Pakistan as a strategic alliance targeting India. However, based on China’s current stance in South Asia, China hopes to deal with its frictions with India bilaterally. There is no need for China to build such an “alliance.” China has sufficient capability, and leverage to deal with India on its own,” an article in Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, The Global Times, said.

On the matter of India tightening visa norms for the Chinese, Beijing on Monday said that the move is a political gesture that extends from the anti-China sentiment following the tension along the LAC.

“The actions may not bring about any actual impact at the moment since Chinese visitors tend to shun corona-ravaged places such as India as its caseload tops three million. But in the long run, such short-sighted policies will definitely dampen Chinese desire to visit or invest in India,” the article further said, quoting Chinese experts.

New Delhi on Saturday had said that visas for Chinese nationals — businessmen, students, advocacy groups and others — must be issued only after prior security clearance.

The move comes close on the heels of India banning 59 Chinese apps following the violent face-off between troops in Galwan Valley along the LAC.

India had subsequently also said it was reviewing MoUs signed between Indian and Chinese universities and also the Confucius Institutes.

Officials of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in India said that they had no information regarding the proposed new rules and visas currently remain suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.




E-passports will be issued to citizens from next year, know what facilities will be available and how to apply



The government wants to issue e-passports so that fraud cases can be prevented. Apart from this, the process of issuing passports will also be easier and faster. At least 15 days passport is able to reach home.

After e-Aadhaar and e-PAN card, now e-passports will be issued to citizens from next year. At present, the government is busy in selecting the agency for the purpose of preparing IT infrastructure for this. According to the Economic Times report, the issuance of e-passports may begin from 2021. Presently, printed passports are issued in the country in the form of bullets. Replacing it, now e-passport will be provided. 20,000 officials and diplomats have been issued e-passports as a pilot project. It has an electronic microprocessor chip.

In fact, the government wants to issue e-passports so that fraud cases can be prevented. Apart from this, the process of issuing passports will also be easier and faster. At least 15 days passport is able to reach home. E-passports will be issued based on the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. According to the report, after the IT infrastructure is ready, e-passports will be issued from all the 36 passport offices across the country. However the mode of application for these will be the same as before.

Apart from this, such a unit will also be prepared for issuing e-passports, where 10 to 20 thousand passports will be issued every hour. Similar arrangements will also be done in cities like Delhi and Chennai. Foreign Minister S.K. Jaishankar had said that this would curb the fraud. According to the foreign minister, work is going on in collaboration with the Indian Security Press and the National Informatics Center on the technology of e-passports. The newly issued passport will have many security features, which cannot be breached.

Giving information about the new passport, the foreign minister said in June, “I am confident that the issuance of e-passports will protect travel documents.” Currently, technology is in progress for new passports and essential items are being procured. He said that the work of issuing e-passports needs to be done at the priority level.




Indian Consulate in Dubai opens 5 passport service centres

News Update, Passport, Savings


Only passports that have already expired or will expire by May 31 will be accepted for renewals by these centres
These renewal applications can only be submitted after booking an appointment with the centre

DUBAI : Indian passport services resumed on Monday at a number of centres in Dubai and the Northern Emirates amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Consulate in Dubai announced.

The five centres — Al Khaleeh Centre and BLS Deira in Dubai, the Sharjah Main Centre, Fujairah ISC and BLS Ras Al Khaimah — reopened following the relaxation of coronavirus-related restrictions, reports Gulf News.

According to the Consulate, only passports that have already expired or will expire by May 31 will be accepted for renewals by these centres.

These renewal applications can only be submitted after booking an appointment with the centre.

All visitors to the centres will also have to maintain social safe distancing.

Coronavirus pandemic | Fate of H-1B visa holders hangs in balance; what does it mean for IT industry’s future?

News Update, Passport


There are over five lakh Indian H-1B visa holders in the US. Many of them have been waiting to get their green card for more than a decade.

The fate of H-1B visa holders continues to be dicey even as the Indian government and industry body NASSCOM are talking to the US government regarding the same.

According to a recent news report, the Indian government has asked the Donald Trump administration to extend validity of H-1B and others visas held by Indian nationals.

On April 8, Indian Foreign Secretary took up the matter with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun.

According to a report in The Times of India, NASSCOM has requested the Department of Homeland Service and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to extend the 90 days grace period given to leave the country after the visas expire.

However, the Trump administration is yet to respond to the issue. This is unlike the United Kingdom, where the government has announced that it would extend visas for all foreign nationals till May 31. The European Union (EU) has also extended the stay for 90 days for those whose visa is about to expire.

In an earlier conversation, Netra Chavan, who manages one the largest H-1B and H4 community Facebook groups, said that the administration has not provided clarity on visa that have expired or about to expire.

This lack of clarity over the issue in the US is what is keeping the community on tenterhooks, visa holders suggest.

Visa holders are worried given that amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, it would be hard to find a job within the 60-day timeframe when your existing employment terminates. They are also at the risk of being deported, if they are unable to change their visa status.

Thus, any decision by the Trump administration will not only have a bearing on the Indian community, but also the tech ecosystem there.

There are over five lakh Indian H-1B visa holders in the US and many of them have been waiting to get their green card for more than a decade. Majority of these visa holders are employed in tech companies, including giants such as Apple, Google and Microsoft.

For most tech firms, Indian techies constitute a significant portion of their workforce. In fact, some firms have made Indian kiosk a mainstay in their cafeteria. “Well, our office had a section just for Indian food like idly and dosa. So we never had to worry about food when I had to travel for work to the headquarters,” said a senior executive, who worked in the US-based tech major.

Will the industry collapse if these techies were sent home?

IT outsourcing sector is the biggest beneficiary of the H-1B visa by far. There are hundreds of techies who are citizens, green card holders and to-be-green card holders. It would not be too much of a stretch to say that it was the H-1B visa that lured thousands into the profession.

However, there is no way that the system would collapse by thousands returning. It has happened before and the industry has proved it is resilient.

Yes, in the short-term, business will suffer. The IT industry has been through ups and downs for decades and has shown resilience. They have better cash reserves and robust a business model that will tide them over.

The bigger question would be: will the IT outsourcing landscape remain the same? Analysts suggest that post-COVID-19, business models are bound to change in more ways than one.

International travel ban imposed since March has impacted sales. Few analysts Moneycontrol spoke to said that travel restrictions are here to stay for next few months and they might be here to stay. Also, during lockdown, IT companies are struggling to enable work from home (WFH) for its workforce, which has impacted project delivery.

Though the IT majors have managed to let majority of its workforce to WFH, Phil Ferst, in his blog has questioned if large enterprises still have the appetite to keep outsourcing when this is over. “We may emerge from this situation with a very different outsourcing landscape,” he said in the blog.

According to him, in the post-COVID-19 world, outsourcing industry may be the first vital piece of the global economy to come under the microscope as nations, businesses and societies try to build a blueprint for what the economy may look like.

Singapore, Malaysia credit card details dumped online in massive data breach

News Update, Passport


Hundreds of thousands of credit card details from at least six Southeast Asian countries – including Malaysia and Singapore – have been leaked online, according to India-based cybersecurity start-up Technisanct.

The company said this week it had found a series of data breaches involving credit card details issued by top banks in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

“The results are alarming as it seems no one is aware that such a huge volume of payment card details – including the CVV and PIN – are available,” said CEO Nandakishore Harikumar, referring to the card verification value and personal identification number.
Anyone with access to those details could cause financial losses to the owner of the cards, he added.

Technisanct said its research found that credit card holders in the Philippine were the worst hit, with 172,828 cards breached, while Malaysia and Singapore had 37,145 and 25,290 cards breached respectively.

According to Nandakishore, in the past week his team had identified even more cards available for sale from these six countries. Although many systems required a one-time transaction password, there were portals that did not require this, he said.

Nandakishore said he had emailed the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) – which handles cybersecurity incidents – in each country and advised them to take action, although not all had responded.

In Malaysia, both Cybersecurity Malaysia and the central bank, which regulates financial institutions, declined to comment.
CIMB Group Holdings – allegedly one of the affected banks – said it had “no credible evidence that any actionable customer data has been compromised from us”.

“CIMB takes data privacy and protection seriously and has taken the necessary security measures to ensure all customers’ personal information remain secured. We continuously monitor all avenues to ensure that our customer data remains protected where possible,” a spokesperson said.

This Week in Asia understands the CERTs of both Vietnam and Malaysia are investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said it was constantly monitoring cyber threats, including cyberattacks that may result in payment card fraud, as part of its surveillance.

“We note that security vendors have reported a rise in incidents of data theft internationally, including loss of card details from compromised e-commerce websites,” a spokesperson said, adding that it had strict requirements for financial institutions in Singapore to implement information technology controls to protect sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure.
“Card issuers have well established processes to handle credit cards whose details have been leaked. Card issuers have also put in place real time fraud monitoring to detect and block suspicious transactions promptly,” the MAS said.

Southeast Asian countries have been hit by growing cybercrime including high-profile data breaches.

Last year, subsidiaries of Indonesian low-cost airline Lion Air suffered a massive data breach, resulting in the information of millions of passengers – including passport details, home addresses and phone numbers – being leaked onto data exchange forums.

In 2018, the details of millions of mobile service subscribers in Malaysia were leaked online, while popular beauty products retailer Sephora revealed online accounts of residents of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia were compromised by a data leak.

Singapore has been the target of several data leaks, including a widely-reported incident where the confidential information of over 14,000 people diagnosed with HIV was leaked online and another where personal data of 1.5 million patients of SingHealth’s specialist clinics – including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – was compromised.

How To Apply For Passport Online India



how to apply for passport online

How To Apply For Passport Online India

Passport is as crucial as any other document for anyone. Previously, not many people knew about how to apply for passport online and used to pay agents to get their application processed.

Applying for a passport online involves booking an appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) or passport center as commonly know which is done by logging in, filling and submitting the passport application form online and later paying the fee for passport online. Once your scheduling, payment and booking of the passport appointment is done, you will have to take a print out of the ARN receipt that you have got online and visit the PSK with required documents to process your application.

Here is the step by step process let you know how to apply for passport online:

Step 1 – Register through the Passport Seva Online Portal using the link “Register Now

Step 2 – Now, login to the Passport Seva Online Portal with your registered Id.

Step 3 – Click the link for “Apply for Fresh Passport/Re-issue of Passport”. Please keep in mind that while applying under Fresh Issuance category – make sure you never held a Passport of the applied category (i.e. Diplomatic Passport, Ordinary Passport or Official Passport) in the past.

For example, if you ever held an Ordinary passport which is Deep Blue in colour in the past but never had any Diplomatic (maroon colour) or Official passport (which is white in colour) – you need to apply under Re-issue category if applying for an Ordinary Passport. Whereas on the other hand, you need to choose the Fresh category if applying for a Diplomatic or Official passport. Similarly, if you have/ever held a Diplomatic (or Official) Passport but do not have/held an Ordinary Passport – then you need to apply for Ordinary Passport under Fresh category whereas choose the Re-issue category if applying for Diplomatic (or Official) passport.

Step 4 – Fill in the required details in the form and click submit.

Step 5 – Click the link “Pay and Schedule Appointment” screen to book an appointment.

Note – for booking appointments at all Passport Seva Kendras/Passport Offices in India, online payment has been made mandatory.

You can make online payment using any one of the following options:

  • Credit/Debit Card (MasterCard and Visa)
  • Internet Banking (State Bank of India and Other Banks)
  • SBI Bank Challan

Step 6 – Once the payment is done, click the “Print Application Receipt” link to take a print out of the application receipt which has the Application Reference Number (ARN)/Appointment Number.

Note: Now it is not mandatory to carry a printout of Application Receipt. An SMS with your appointment details is also accepted and is enough as a proof of appointment during your visit to Passport Office.

Step 7 – Visit the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK)/Regional Passport Office (RPO) where your appointment has been booked, along with required original documents.

Passports To Stay Blue, Retain Address. Government Drops Plan Orange




Passports To Stay Blue, Retain Address. Government Drops Plan Orange

The government has dropped its idea to issue orange colored passports afresh and passports to stay blue with retention of address on it. Such passports were meant for persons who could not have cleared their Class 10 examination. Now it has decided to continue printing its existing blue type of passports in order to retain the passports with a valid address.

The matter of review came due to sharp criticism against the change, which was treated as discriminatory against persons issued orange passports. In this connection a petition was also filed in the Kerala High Court arguing that workers having orange colored passports would be more harassed and exploited due to their apparent status of passports.

In a declaring statement the foreign ministry on Tuesday had said that it had decided to continue the existing practice of printing the last page of the passport. Further it also decided passports to stay blue and not to issue a separate orange colored passports to ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) passport holders. Currently passports are issued in three colors. Government officers are issued white passports, diplomats do get red passports, while the remaining passports are issued in blue color.

Now the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a statement also declared not to issue a separate passport with orange color jacket to ECR passport holders.The Government had clarified that the ensuing orange passports would be issued to safeguard the ordinary workers from exploitation abroad, but the Congress president Rahul Gandhi along with other critics argued that issuance of orange and blue color coding would be discriminatory against the under privileged and less educated laborers.

Emigration Check required i.e. ECR category is meant for such applicants who couldn’t have completed school and isgoing abroad for work to the Gulf or a group of 18 countries. Before leaving India they will have to procure an ‘Emigration Clearance Certificate’ from the office of the Protector of Emigrants.

Mr. Gandhi had opined that such act would be discriminatory against India’s migrant workers who might be treated like 2nd class citizens. Then he tweeted that it was not acceptable to him at all. He also said that such action of BJP had demonstrated their discriminatory mindset.

The foreign ministry by their Tuesday’s statement said that the decision to change the color coding of the passports had been taken on reference from a 3 member committee, which included an official of the Women and Child development Ministry.

The United Nations’ latest International Migration Report has also endorsed that the largest number of people originally born in India and now living/working abroad are the highest. The number of such India born workers living abroad has been estimated to a total of 17 million in 2017. According to a World Bank Report such persons annually do send an estimated amount of $ 69 billion.

Passports to not serve as address proof?



Indian passports

Passports to not serve as address proof?

As per the latest report your passports may no longer serve as a valid proof of address, as the External Affairs Ministry has taken a decision not to print the last page of the travel document with the address of the passport holder.

The last page of the passport includes the father or legal guardian’s name, mother’s names of the holder, spouse and their address.

As the latest MEA statement  – “As the last page of the passport would not be printed now, the passport holders with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status would be issued a passport with orange passport jacket and those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport.”

The recommendations came from a three-member panel, including officials from the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of women and child development. Later the recommendations were accepted and it was decided that the last page of the passport and other travel documents issued under the Passports Act, 1967 and Passport Rules, 1980 “would no longer be printed and will not have the address of the holder”, it said.

Various issues were examined by the panel “pertaining to passport applications including examination of where mother/child had insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport and also relating to passport issues to children with single parent and to adopted children”, it added.

The Indian Security Press (ISP), Nasik, would design the new passport booklets in due course of time.

“Till the new passport booklets are designed, manufactured and made available to the ministry by ISP, Nashik, the passports and other travel documents would continue to be printed with the last page,” the MEA report said.

In order to avoid any rush, MEA said that the existing passports of the people would continue to remain valid till the date of expiry printed in their passport booklet.