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90mn smart NID card distribution to complete by Dec: EC

WT24 Desk

The Election Commission has taken additional measures to complete the distribution of 90 million smart national identity (NID) cards among voters across the country within the stipulated time of December next, UNB reports.

Director General of NID Registration Wing of the Election Commission Brig Gen Mohammad Saidul Islam said this at a press conference at the wing’s office in the city.

According to an agreement, a French digital security company ‘Oberthur Technologies’ is supposed to provide 90 million blank smart cards, but the company has so far sent some 52 million cards, he said.

“We’ve asked the firm to send the remaining cards by June 30 next. If the firm fails to do so, we’ll take action against it as per the deal,” he added.

As part of the additional measures, he said, 10 machines have been printing the smart cards in two shifts instead of one since February 14.

In January 2015, Oberthur Technologies got the Tk 7960-million contract for production and distribution of 90 million smart NID cards with 25 security features within 18 months under the EC’s Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services (IDEA) project.

As the Commission failed to distribute the smart cards within the stipulated time, the IDEA project period was extended to December 2017 from the July 2016.

According to the latest update of voter list, there are some 101.7 million voters across the country, but the EC in October last year started its move to provide 90 million voters with the smart cards.

About the remaining 11.7 million fresh voters, Saidul Islam said they have a plan to produce smart NID cards locally for them. Signing an agreement with Bangladesh Machine Tools factory to produce the cards is now at the final stage, he said.

The issue of signing the agreement will be finalised at a meeting on April 30 next, he added. Replying to a question, the NID Registration Wing DG said now a total of 74 government and private organisations have access to information of the EC data centre.

Besides, three foreign missions have applied to get access to the data centre, he said. In reply to another question, he said nearly 60 percent of the smart cards have so far been distributed in the capital.

Director (Operation) of NID Registration Wing Abdul Baten and Director (PR) of EC Secretariat SM Asaduzzaman were present.  In stead of laminated NID cards printed on normal paper, the 10-digit first-ever smart cards are being distributed free of cost.

The smart card has multipurpose uses in getting services like TIN number, driving licence, passport, opening bank accounts, marriage registration and admission in educational institutions.

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