GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, Aug 17: The government has geared up its effort to distribute biometric national identity (NID) cards to as many as 117,000 citizens within the next 18 months.
The National ID Management Center (NIDMC), which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, had signed an agreement with a French company, Safran Identity and Security, on July 15 for manufacturing and distributing the cards.
“The French company has started installing necessary hardware, which is expected to be completed in a year. We will start distributing the cards to the citizens as soon as the system becomes operational,” Executive Director of NIDMC Dinesh Bhattarai said during press conference organized at Singha Durbar on Tuesday.
Bhattarai informed that NIDMC staff has been undergoing training for the last two weeks to prepare themselves to work under the new system.
The French company was awarded the contract of 4,878,698 USD to get the system up and running.
According to him, the company will produce 110,000 cards using the secondary data of a particular district available at the Election Commission and it will make another 7,000 cards of civil servants working at Singha Durbar administrative area through live enrollment process.
The center, however, has said that it will take more than five years to distribute biometric NID cards to citizens across the country. “Once the first phase gets completed, the cards will be distributed in 15 districts in the second phase, 25 districts in the third, and the remaining districts will be covered in the fourth phase,” Bhattarai said.
Bhattarai said that the French company would set up the hardware system and produce cards for the first phase before handing it over to the government.
“The government will implement the remaining phase using its own manpower with the help of District Administration Offices,” he said.
According to him, the cards will have 25 security features. Some of them are seen and some of them are hidden in security chip. “As the data storage system is highly secure, there is no chance of any security breaches,” he said.
The center also informed that the digital cards will have advantages as citizens will be able to use it for multiple services. Likewise, the NID is also expected to be instrumental in controlling crimes, among others.
‘Mother of identification document’
The NID card will have all kind of information related to an individual eligible to get a citizenship card or is already a citizenship holder. It will provide national ID number for all the holders and ensure security and privacy of the data.
It will have the basic information such as passport, driving license, birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, voter ID card. Likewise, it will include the information related individual’s land, vehicle and other properties, financial transactions, taxation, medical information, among others. It can be also be used as the social security card.
“The national ID card will have maximum features. So we call it ‘mother of identification document’ as well,” said Bhattarai.
First appeared in Republica national daily