Govt planning multi-use smart ID cards by 2013

The government is working on a proposal to issue multi-purpose smart identity cards to all adult citizens by the end of 2013.

New Delhi: The government is working on a proposal to issue multi-purpose smart identity cards to all adult citizens by the end of 2013, a move that could result in
cost savings for the exchequer.

"The proposal has been made under Citizenship Act
amendment made in 2003. The Registrar General of India has
proposed to issue smart identity cards to all citizens of the
country above 18 years, which is under consideration by the
Department of Expenditure," a senior official of the Registrar
General and Census Commissioner (RGCC) told a news agency.

These cards can be also used in the place of ration, toll
and election cards, among others, resulting in lower costs for
the government, as a single card could serve various purposes
rather than a separate ones for each service.

The official said adults constitute approximately 65 per
cent of the country`s population and the government estimates
that each smart card will cost about Rs 50.

"The final cost will be decided based on the
recommendation received from the technical committee which has
been set up under the Director General of NIC, B K Gairola,"
the official said.

He added that the recommendations from the technical
committee are expected to be out by October-end.

Among other things, the proposed smart identity cards
will carry Aadhar numbers issued by the Unique Identity
Authority of India (UIDAI), photographs, biometric data like
finger prints and an iris scan of the card holder on an
electronic chip.

According to industry experts, these cards could be used
by the state and the central government to replace various
other cards and even the cost of each card can brought down.

"Both the state and central government can use these
smart cards to provide a variety of services. Multi-purpose
smart cards have the potential to work for several
applications such as ration cards, toll cards, election cards
or citizen ID cards or any application you can think of,"
smart card and biometric market expert S Swarn of Electronics
Today said.

Swarn added that cost of cards can also go down if
government applications are loaded on the same card, rather
than issuing a separate smart card for each individual

Last week, Registrar General of India C Chandramouli said
the government will start the distribution of approximately
eight million smart identity cards in 3,331 coastal area
villages in the next two months.

"The basic objective of issuing these cards is to
identify citizens of the country and check infiltration.
However, more can be done with these cards," the official

The government has allocated about Rs 6,600 crore for
digitisation of all data on citizens in the country.

Three public sector units -- ITI, BEL and ECIL -- are
involved in the digitisation of data collected from 13 coastal
states, Delhi, Nagaland and Manipur during the Census 2011.

According to the official, the Department of Information
Technology will start digitisation of data for the rest of
country by November this year and complete it by mid-2013.


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