Finger biometrics and photographs will be integrated with individual records in the Multi-Purpose National Identity Cards (MNIC) to be issued to each citizen after the next census in 2011.
Since the logistical and financial requirement for the national roll-out will be "enormous", it has been proposed that data collection for preparation of National Population Register (NPR) for the country would be undertaken along with the 2011 census.
The Smart Cards, as the MNIC is popularly known, will carry a National Identity Number and will be given to every citizen above 18 years.
"The new initiative seeks to address emerging security related concerns of the Border Management Division of the Union Home Ministry," a senior MHA official said.
He said an outlay of Rs 300 crore has been approved for preparation of NPR in the 11th Plan. The fund will be utilised to undertake development of indigenous technology for multi-lingual data search, extraction and matching of finger print.
The MNIC Pilot Project has been under implementation since November 2003 in 12 states and one Union Territory, covering a population of about 31 lakh, and the first phase has been completed with the production and distribution of the Smart Cards, he said.
The Home Ministry will now examine issues relating to management of the cards including loss and damage and the required infrastructure and uses to which the cards can be put to.
The official said the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been assisting in providing the connectivity for data transfer, software development and cyber-security of database.
Before undertaking the production of the Smart Cards, the lists of Local Register of Indian Citizens (LRIC) and Local Residents Register (LRR) are displayed in all villages in rural areas and in wards in urban areas for inviting objection over citizenship, change in name or address.
In all pilot areas, publicity measures through banners, pamphlets, local news items and beating of drums were undertaken, he said.
The production and distribution of the Smart Cards have been awarded to a consortium of central public sector undertakings (CPSUs).
The MNIC project runs parallel to the Unique Identification Scheme being implemented by the Department of Information Technology at the behest of the Planning Commission.
The electoral roll data base of the Election Commission is used for implementation of the scheme, under which resident database would be created for better targeting of Government-sponsored schemes and programmes.