New Delhi: To keep a tab on terrorists often mixing with common people, the government has initiated war footing measures to ensure availability of multipurpose identity cards to all citizens by 2011.
“The national population register will be ready by 2011 and the multipurpose national identity cards (MNIC) will be issued to all residents in 2011,” Union home minister P Chidambaram said.
The project aims at providing a unique national identity number to each person in the national population register, he said here Monday evening after assuming office.
However, keeping in view the complexities involved in both the process and technology, a pilot project has been under implementation on an experimental basis covering a population of 30.95 lakhs in selected areas in 12 states and one union territory.
“The coastal districts and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the work has already started,” he said.
The identity card is a smart card having a microprocessor chip. This is a secure card for which recommendation was made by the technical committee constituted by the government having representatives from National Informatics Centre, IIT Kanpur, Bharat Electronics Limited, Indian Telephone Industries Limited, Electronics Corporation of India Limited, Intelligence Bureau and others.
Sources said the implementation of the scheme in the entire country would be based in the light of the experiences gained and lessons learnt from the pilot project.
The identity smart cards are being issued to citizens of 18 years and more under the pilot project.
The decision to implement the pilot project in the coastal areas has been taken keeping in view the aspects relating to enhancement of security in coastal areas following the Mumbai terror attack as the terrorists came using the sea route.
The creation of national population register might usher in the era of register-based census in the country and would help in future to have the estimates of population on a real time basis by combining it with the system of registration of births and deaths in the country.
Expecting the population of the country to reach 1.20 billion by 2011, the government is also taking precaution to identify difficult areas and difficult populations in advance so that no person in any household is left unrecorded and no area is left untouched.