Digi Yatra is an initiative by the Indian government to make air travel more efficient, hassle-free, and seamless for passengers through the use of digital technology. The Digi Yatra program aims to create a paperless and seamless travel experience for passengers from the time of booking to boarding the aircraft.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, General (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd), gave the below information in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on February 02, 2023, about Facial Recognition Technology.
Digi Yatra Policy
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched the Digi Yatra policy, which employs Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) to establish a biometric boarding system. The program's primary goal is to provide passengers with a seamless and hassle-free airport experience. Furthermore, by eliminating the need for multiple verifications of tickets and IDs, the program seeks to enhance passenger experience and achieve better throughput through the existing infrastructure, utilising a digital framework.
Digi Yatra Implementation
Currently, the program is in the implementation stage, and the cost of implementing Digi Yatra is borne by airport operators, with no budgetary support from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. To create awareness about the program, airport and airline operators make in-flight announcements, display banners and films, provide help desk support, and publicise it on boarding passes and social media.
The First phase of Digi Yatra
Digi Yatra is to be implemented across airports in a phased manner. On December 01, 2022, the first phase of Digi Yatra was launched at Delhi, Bangalore, and Varanasi airports. The program aims to provide passengers with a contactless and paperless check-in and boarding process using facial biometrics.
The implementation of Digi Yatra in phase I is also scheduled for Kolkata, Pune, Vijayawada, and Hyderabad airports by March 2023, followed by other airports in the country in a phased manner. The digital transformation of the aviation sector is an ongoing process.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded the implementation work of the biometric boarding system to Kolkata, Pune, Vijayawada, and Varanasi airports.
Digi Yatra is an optional service (Voluntary facility) that offers passengers a seamless and hassle-free experience at airports. The program does not store passengers' Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data in a central location. Instead, all passenger data is encrypted and stored on their smartphone's digital wallet. This data is only shared with the origin airport to verify the passenger's Digi Yatra ID and is deleted from the system within 24 hours of the flight. Airports that have implemented Digi Yatra offer Touchless Passenger Validation through FRT, which saves time at various touchpoints such as airport entry, Security Hold Area (SHA), and Boarding Area without the need for CISF intervention.
Dataevolve Solutions has built Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) based Digi Yatra Central Ecosystem. It has been selected through a national start-up challenge run by NitiAayog under the Atal Innovation Mission.