February 18, 2007

National id card possible?

I have wrote last August that national id card for Bangladeshi citizens will solve many problems. While the voter id card is the prime requirement now, many think that there is no option other than the national id. there is no point building scores of different databases for different requirements (such as machine readable passport, tax data, driving license etc) instead of building and sharing a common one.

The army chief said in a recent speech:

Some intellectuals said that it will require Tk 1000 crore and five years time. But, the army have made a calculation that suggests that ID card for the voters is possible within 10-12 months at an estimated cost of Tk 300 crore.

Today BDNews reports that the army has formally proposed to the government to produce national id card within 12 months at a cost of Tk. 300 crore. The "immediate objective" will be to produce a database of roughly 100 million voting eligible citizens for national elections, but the plan, if implemented, will eventually create a national human resource database of all citizens. Main features include:

...name, father's name, sex, permanent address, personal identification number (PIN), date of birth, photograph, barcode of thumb impression, thumb impression/signature of individual, profession, signature of election officer and signature of local elected representative. The proposed national citizen identification database will contain PIN, bio-metric data for multi-purpose national use like national ID, voters' list, tax payment, different licensing, land registration, crime investigation, police verification etc.

Well what more do you need? Moreover you don't have to spend the money outside the country. And with Army involved there are little options of calling it biased or corrupted. I think this is the best offer Bangladesh has at this moment. Hope the caretaker (interim) government will take action accordingly.


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