The government of Nepal is moving forward with plans for its national biometric ID program. To that end, the Department of National ID and Civil Registration will soon issue an international tender for the printing and distribution of national ID cards, with Department Director General Jitendra Basnet indicating that the bid document will go out within the next three months.
Nepal previously issued around 117,000 ID cards during a pilot program that was conducted in 2018. The country had originally hoped to distribute 10 million ID cards before the end of 2020, but those plans were disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19, which made it unsafe for officials to collect people’s face and fingerprint biometrics in densely populated areas. The government has since turned its attention to more rural districts that have much lower rates of COVID-19, and is hoping to get cards in the hands of the citizens who have already registered their biometric data. However, Basnet declined to include a target number due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus.
“Our first priority is to collect the information about the citizens and then go to the ID card printing process,” said Basnet.
The new ID cards will each come with a unique identification number, and will contain biometric and personal details about the holder. The smart cards are intended to replace Nepal’s existing citizenship card, and will similarly be used to help provide various government services. In that regard, government officials will be able to read the information on the cards using secure scanners.
The 2018 pilot program was carried out by IDEMIA, which secured the contract as Safran Identity & Security before it merged with Oberthur Technologies to form IDEMIA. The company followed through on its $4.9 million contract with the delivery of those 117,000 ID cards, after fulfilling its promise to develop a national e-ID system for the Nepal National Identity Management Center with end-to-end biometric registration and deduplication processes.
Source: The Kathmandu Post
November 2, 2020 – by Eric Weiss