Come January 2011, and 1.2 crore people living in 3,331 coastal villages across eight Indian states will become the first in the country to get their multipurpose Resident Identity Card.
Apart from personal details like name, age, occupation, education, the smart card will would have a photograph and biometric thumb impression of individuals.
The move to give coastal residents a multipurpose identification card is part of the National Population Registry (NPR) and was initiated in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI), which is carrying out the project, has finished the process of collating data and is processing it.
"The coastal NPR is in the final stages. We will start distributing the Resident Identity Card from January 2011," confirmed Dr C Chandramouli, census commissioner and registrar general.
The card will initially have a biometric thumb impression. It will later be updated with the iris and integrated to the Unique Identification Number card that will be issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India.
"Soon after the Mumbai attacks, because of security concerns, it was felt that a multipurpose identity card for each resident of coastal areas should be prepared on a priority basis," said an official.
"The card will be in English and the local language. Many of the residents in the coastal villages are fishermen and if they stray far and are intercepted at sea, then the smart card would help them in proving their identity," said the official.