The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday announced that applicants who have education below 10th grade standard will be provided with an orange sleeved passport, while everyone else except for diplomats and officials will continue with the standard navy-sleeved passports.
The passport will also drop its last page, consisting of the holder’s address and the names of parents and spouse, reports India Today.
Emigration clearance is an essential procedure for working class migrants to enter the oil-rich countries of the Arabian Gulf. A huge chuck of Kerala’s economy depends upon the remittance money from these countries.
Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy strongly criticized the new passports by stating that workers with orange passports would be "treated with disdain" by International authorities. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayanalso called on the government to "rectify" its decision.
He said the use of two colours would "lead to a situation wherein those who have not passed 10th standard would be considered as second class citizens."
The elimination of the last page was recommended by a three-member panel of officials from the MEA and women and child development ministry.
Ironically, the decision was taken to not discriminate against single parents, adopted children, and women who do not want to list their husband's name on their passports.
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi also strongly condemned the decision. He believed it revealed the "discriminatory mindset" of the current government.