The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that the new ‘lotus’ symbol on Indian passport is part of enhanced security features meant to identify fake passports. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said “this symbol is our national flower and part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports’.
The announcement comes a day after opposition members in Lok Sabha raised the issue of lotus being printed on new passports. Raining this issue of lotus being printed on new passports brought for distribution in Kozhikode in Kerala during the zero hour, calling it an alleged “further saffronisation” of the government established with the lotus being the election symbol of the BJP. Further adding on to the matter, Kumar stated that these security features had been introduced as part of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines.
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Similarly, the External Affairs Ministry also added that the government would be using other national symbols ‘on rotation’ for the same purpose. These symbols are all said to be connected with India with ideas of such as the national flower and the national anthem of the list.
The Lotus does not enjoy any legal backing so why the saffronisation.
However, with the opposition questioning the Modi government over the replacement of the Lion with the Lotus symbol on the Indian passport, MK Raghavan a member of Congress alleges that the lotus emblem is being printed on new passports to establish the current government’s symbol to saffronisation- an Indian political neologism used to criticises and refer to the policies of right-wing Hindu nationalists that seek to recall and glorify ancient Hindu cultural history.
Even though Raveesh Kumar claims that symbol is an initiative pertaining to the security issue of Indian passports, opposition leader Raghavan has demanded an immediate withdrawal of such passports and a high-level inquiry into the matter. With the United Nations specialized agency International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) giving its approval for the new features, the Ministry of External Affairs is also said to be working on e-passports with an aim to prepare a new passport booklet with modern security features.
However, the Government of India has not issued any notification to declare the same. Thus, even though the lotus doesn’t enjoy any legal backing in the form of a government notification to be regarded as the national flower.