I saw it in
Japan in 1990. At their central driver licensing facility in Tokyo
an individual placed his palm on the ‘scanner flat’
in front of a computer monitor, and hey presto – his total
profile with every identifying feature and attribute appeared
on the screen. His photo-image, name and address, height and other
attributes, also coordinates and what have you. They said it was
part of a national database accessible throughout the length and
breadth of the land – be it in Hokkaido in the north or
Osaka in the south. Preventing a person from assuming multiple
identities, I was told, was just one among the many uses of the
then it has been my dream for India to have a similar national
database, to manage its one billion plus population and help overcome
the plethora of maladies the country is plagued with. To start
with, I had then asked for a National Driver License Register,
to be linked with a National Motor Vehicle Identity Register –
both of which still remain a pipe dream. So how indeed could one
progress in terms of the colossal database for a National Identity
Register covering every citizen! Our priorities being so warped,
to this day we have not succeeded in this crucial area.
nearest we have come to achieve a national database, is in our
drive started during Election Commissioner TN Seshan’s time
to provide those eligible, with a voter identity card –
even though only state-wise. And we have other compartmentalised
and fragmented data for a multiple array of smart cards –
be it for the driving license, credit cards or for access control
in the limited domain of the corporate sector. This, in an era
when sitting in Delhi multinational entities can access global
networks for conducting business, or an airline company can check
flights availability for reservation. Why a nation considered
the IT giant of the world couldn’t pool its talent bank
and resources to create this database for a national citizens’
identity card, is beyond comprehension.
national identification number is used by the governments of countries
across the world as a means of tracking their citizens, permanent
residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation,
government benefits, health care, and other governmentally-related
functions. This number sometimes appears also on the identity
card issued by a country.
hi-tech identity cards are often smartcards to be read by computer.
And where issued by a state, the card asserts a unique single
civil identity for a person, defining that person's identity purely
in relation to the state. New technologies allow such identity
cards to contain biometric information, like photographs, face,
hand or iris measurements, or fingerprints. Other information
typically present on the cards — or on the supporting database
— includes full name, parents' names, address, profession,
nationality in multinational states, and blood type.
identity card” can be beneficial for people who wish to
avoid detection. It may help in some illegal dealings; like avoiding
or delaying deportation for illegal immigrants. We are a country
plagued with incursions by immigrans from Bangladesh, Nepal and
elsewhere. The requirement for people to possess a national identity
number or card would make it difficult for such to continue their
illegal status and stay on.
cards are a useful administrative tool that will increase efficiency
in dealings with both the goverment and private companies. They
would help to cut down on crime. All banks require ID cards when
dealing with them, which increases security.
of births and deaths is now compulsory in our country. For a national
identity number, we need to make a beginning right from the birth
and evolve a system by which data on the individual gets added/
appropriately changed as he grows and time moves on. The student
card, driving licence or passport information can all be incorporated,
while the same card continues to be used to prove one's identity.
addition to basic biometric information (a digitized fingerprint
record, a printed digital photograph and a scanned signature)
the card should include the family name, first names, date and
place of birth, even personal medical information – in addition
to various anti-fraud systems embedded within its plastic-covered
compactness. As also the national identity number managed by a
national registry, which could eventually be used as the national
service registration number, as the Social Security account number
for health and retirement benefits, for access to court files
and for tax purposes etc, if and when these become common norm
in our country. Law enforcement (police) can accept this data
while performing identity checks, and elsewhere in finacial transactions
too, as proof of identity.
national scheme to verify a person accurately is paramount. The
ability to properly identify a person to their true identity is
central to the operation of the foreign ministry’s latest
proposal to do away with police verification of passport aspirants
and to all other proposals of the country concerning its citizens,
with wider implications for operations against crime and terrorism.
latest to demand a national identity card for citizens is the
telecom sector. Unable to cope with the ‘harrassment’
at the hands of security agencies on the issue of customer verification,
they want the government to isuue a nationl citizen’s identity
card which can be used as a single unit to identify a person while
issuing a subscriber identification module (SIM).
we a National Identity Number – seen as a gold standard
in proving one’s identity, or a database in a National Identity
Register, things would have been different. The crying need therefore,
is for the government to work towards one. Urgently!
900 words: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002.
You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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