The government proposes to make it mandatory for Indian air travellers to provide a Unique Identification (UID) like Aadhaar, passport or PAN card at the time of booking tickets, Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said on Thursday, while announcing the launch of the digital travel experience initiative - Digiyatra - for fliers.
"It is being proposed, for implementing after a period of 90 to 120 days, to make it mandatory for booking an air ticket to provide some unique ID like PAN, Aadhar or passport," Sinha told reporters here. "We are trying to see what more we can have as unique ID so that more people are covered," he said. The Minister simultaneously announced the launch of Digiyatra which aims to digitally link unique IDs such as Aadhaar, passport or PAN card to the airlines' booking PNR to facilitate a "seamless experience" of passing through airports for the traveller that would also relieve queues and congestion.
Sinha said that following multiple meetings with various stakeholders, the government has started the process of creating "the technical architecture" as well as the enabling regulations for a "Digital Traveller Framework" to provide a "seamless experience" of passing through Indian airports. "The Unique ID is key to this framework and there are various ways of securing this UID like the Aadhaar, the PAN card and passport," Sinha said.
Essentially, the system involves linking the unique ID digitally at the time of booking to the airline PNR. This would allow the passenger to have all the information required for smooth passage digitally, including a digital boarding pass and be guided to the proper boarding gate, Sinha said. "If you do a digital check-in, you can do the baggage check-in yourself," he said in response to a query.
"With the biometric information at the gate, the passenger could pass through seamlessly. No paper would be required," Sinha said, adding that another mode of identification could be a "QR code generated on the smartphone". Noting that a UID system for entering airports already exists in manual form, the minister said this would only be its digital linking with the airline PNR.
He clarified, however, that Aadhaar, which has biometric details, is not going to be made mandatory and passengers would be free to use the existing methods of flight check-in. "Most Indians now have Aadhaar and having the biometric details in the airport will allow the passenger a seamless zip-through experience," he said
He also said that it has been decided to form a technical committee that will produce a white paper in a month on the data architecture and the regulations required to be put in place. The technical committee would also report on the issue of data protection and the other existing IDs, apart from Aadhaar, that can be linked digitally.