New hard plastic voter identity card on the anvil



New Delhi: The laminated voter identity card made of paper with black and white photograph is all set to undergo a change with the Election Commission planning to replace it with a driving licence-like hard plastic card which is more durable.

"At present, the laminated Elector's Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is made of paper with the voter's black and white photograph. Now we are considering changing it at the pan- India level to a hard plastic card, something like a driving licence or a credit card, with colour photo," Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla said.

The new voter card will be first issued in Assam and Nagaland and it will be done free of cost there, he told an Interactive Session here yesterday.

Nearly 95 percent of India's over 700 million voters are covered by EPIC except in Assam and Nagaland. While the current card costs about Rs 10-12, the more durable new EPIC will come for less than Rs 50.

However, the Commission will charge a fee, which will be less than Rs 50, from the voters holding the present EPIC to convert them into hard plastic cards. The choice to opt for the new version will be that of the voter.

The Commission has already held meetings with representatives of various organisations -- both private and state-owned-- to decide on the price for making the new card.

But the new card will not be a smart card like a driving licence, EC officials said.

PTI