The Ministry of External Affairs has reversed its decision to issue orange-coloured passports to ECR-passport holders. It has also decided not to discontinue printing the last page of the passport, which is used as a valid proof of address.
The government has 'decided to continue with the practise of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket of ECR passport holders', said a MEA press release.
The decision was taken into consideration after EAM Sushma Swaraj held a comprehensive discussions with stake holders.
"At a meeting chaired by External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on January 29, 2018, in the presence of General (Retd.) V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, the decision of the MEA on both these issues was reviewed in the light of these representations. After comprehensive discussions with the various stakeholders, the MEA 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," the release said.
The MEA had announced the plan in the first week of January, but had not released any other details of the plan, including a timeline for implementation.
The move had come in for widespread criticism. The Ministry of External Affairs had announced in a statement that those with ECR status will be issued orange passports.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had termed the decision unacceptable. "Treating India's migrant workers like second class citizens is completely unacceptable," he had tweeted.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, too, had voiced concerns over the plan and asked the Centre to rectify the order. "The decision will discriminate between ordinary workers and educated ones. This would lead to a situation wherein those who have not passed the tenth standard would be considered as second class citizens," he had said.