The covid 19 pandemic had shocked the world. It led to a lockdown and a halt in traveling for a year. When the lockdown was lifted and people were allowed to travel, there were still a lot of protocols and regulations that were required to be followed by the people for international, interstate, and interdistrict travel. People were required to show an RTPCR test report which was proof of being covid negative. When vaccination began, a vaccination certificate became mandatory for traveling.
Maharashtra is a state with lots of industries and work opportunities. The capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai is known as the Industrial capital of India. Thousands of people in Maharashtra are required to use the local train and buses to travel regularly for work. The covid pandemic has made traveling very difficult for the local people of the state. Every time they traveled by train, they were required to show an RTPCR report or a vaccination certificate. To resolve this problem, the Maharastra State government introduced the Universal Travel Pass to make traveling simpler for the people of Maharashtra.
What is Universal Travel Pass?
The Universal Travel Pass is an electronic pass that can be used to travel on suburban trains within the state or outside the state. If a traveler has this pass, he is not required to show an RTPCR test report or a vaccination certificate every time he boards a train, bus or metro. This pass comes with a QR code which is authenticated by the railway authority before the passenger board the train. Apart from trains, this pass can also be used while traveling by buses and metros.
Initially, this pass was issued to medical and utility workers who were required to travel for emergencies at a time when traveling was restricted due to covid. Today, this pass is issued to employees of every sector who are regular travelers.
Universal Travel Pass was introduced by the Maharashtra State Disaster Management Authority in Association with the Indian Railways. Today this pass is issued to people who are fully vaccinated. A traveler should have taken both the doses of the vaccine to be eligible for this pass. A traveler can apply for this pass online at the Maharashtra state official website. Once the pass is issued, it can be used for a lifetime.
Objectives of Universal Travel Pass
The state government of Maharashtra introduced the Universal Travel Pass to make traveling safer and easier. Only vaccinated people are issued this pass which means that every passenger travels with vaccinated and covid negative people. This reduces the risk of transmission of the virus.
The problem with RTPCR test reports and vaccination certificates is that many times fake reports and certificates were provided and it became difficult for the railway staff to distinguish between the real and fake reports at the spur of the moment. Also, conducting RTPCR tests repetitively is expensive and has the risk of attracting the virus. Universal Travel Pass solves these problems.
Also, having a Universal Travel Pass eliminates the need for manual and physical verification at the time of travel. Before UTP came into being, a machine was used to test the temperature and oxygen saturation of a passenger to ensure they are Covid negative. After UTP was introduced, this step was no longer needed. This saves time and reduces effort.
Eligibility criteria to apply for Universal Travel Pass
The Maharashtra state government has laid down certain criteria that the applicant should meet in order to apply for UTP. The eligibility criterias are as follows:
- The age of applicant must be above 18
- The applicant should have taken both the doses of covid vaccine and he should have taken the second dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before applying for UTP.
- The applicant must be a resident of the State of Maharashtra
How to apply for a Universal Travel Pass?
An applicant should follow the below steps to apply for a Universal Travel Pass:
- Visit the official website of the Maharashtra State Government epassmsdma.mahait.org
- On the home page, click on ‘Register Your Establishment’
- A page will appear where you are required to fill in all your details including your establishment category, type of establishment, registration number, photo of registration certificate, etc.
- After filling in the details, accept the conditions and declaration
- Click on ‘Register’
- A message will be sent to your registered mobile number confirming your registration.
- Within 48 hours the applicant will receive a link to download the Universal Travel Pass
- The applicant can download and save the pass on his device
What is required to apply for UTP?
Just like applying for any other government ID, applying for UTP also requires some document submission along with the application form. The documents that are required from the applicant are his Aadhar card, Voter ID card, his mobile number, registered company name, CoWin registration number, vaccination certificates, industrial papers and a photo of the applicant.
What does the Universal Travel Pass contain?
Universal Travel Pass is an electronic pass that contains the following elements:
- The basic information about the passenger like his name, age, and gender.
- The passenger’s travel category that is classified into levels 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.
- The date when the passenger got vaccinated. It should contain the dates of both the first and the second doses of the vaccination.
- A beneficiary ID that is allocated to that particular passenger.
- Lastly, there is a QR code for scanning.
Using the Universal Travel Pass, any citizen of Maharashtra can travel within the state or outside the state easily and without any hassle. It can be used while traveling on train, bus, flight and metro. Due to the pandemic, the world has turned digital and the Maharashtra government knew this. It made the travel safety procedure digital by issuing e-passes. They made the proper use of the digital resources and took advantage of the fast internet penetration in the state to make traveling simple and hassle-free. UTP supports the Digital India movement of the central government. The other states should also follow the footsteps of the Maharashtra government and issue e-passes to the passengers instead of manual checking and verification.