Multi-purpose smart card likely by 2013

October 03, 2011 12:55 am | Updated 12:55 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Centre is planning to issue multi-purpose smart identity cards to all adult citizens by 2013-end, a proposal that could help cut costs for the exchequer.

“The proposal has been made under the amendment to the Citizenship Act effected in 2003. The Registrar-General of India has proposed to issue smart identity cards to all citizens… aged above 18. The proposal is under the consideration by the Department of Expenditure,” a senior official of the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner told PTI.

Adults constitute roughly 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 based on the recommendations from a technical committee, which has been set up under Director-General of the National Informatics Centre B.K. Gairola,” the official said. The recommendations are expected by October-end.

Among other things, the proposed smart cards will carry Aadhar numbers issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India, photographs, biometric data like fingerprints, and an iris scan of the cardholder on an electronic chip.

Industry experts say these cards could be used by the governments in place of ration, toll and election cards, and even the cost of each card can be brought down. “Both the State and Central governments can use these smart cards to provide a variety of services. Multi-purpose smart cards have the potential of working for several applications such as ration cards, toll cards, electronic voter identity cards or citizen identity cards, or any application you can think of,” S. Swarn, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Electronics Today, said.

He said the cost of cards could also go down if government applications were loaded on the same card, rather than issuing a separate card for each application.

Last week, Registrar-General C. Chandramouli said the government would start distributing eight million smart identity cards in 3,331 coastal villages in the next two months.

The government has allocated Rs. 6,600 crore for digitisation of all data of citizens.

Three public sector units — ITI, Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited — are involved in the digitisation of data collected from 13 coastal States, Delhi, Nagaland and Manipur during Census 2011.

The official said the Department of Information Technology would start digitisation of data from the rest of the country by November this year and complete it by the middle of 2013.

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