Smart I-card in Delhi first

A Narela resident in northwest Delhi will be the first Indian to receive the Multipurpose National Identity Card that has been in the wings for more than three years.

The government will on Saturday presented the first few chip-based smart ID cards to a group of residents in the Capital, kick-starting the completion of a pilot project in selected sub-districts of 12 states and one union territory.

The remaining 24-lakh citizens will receive the card – that is costing the government Rs 60 each – by post. The pilot project would be wound up within a year of the last of these cards being distributed.

During this one-year period, the government intends to study issues relating to management of the cards including loss and damage of cards, the required infrastructure and the uses to which the card can be put to.The previous BJP-led coalition government conceived the MNIC project, asserting that it would help check illegal immigration. Home ministry officials said 20,000 of the people over 18 years – most of them in border states – were suspected to be of foreign origin.

Each ID card will carry basic details across several parameters including educational qualification, place of birth, photograph and fingerprints of the holder. Only some of this information would be visible on the card; the rest would be stored in the 16-kilobyte chip on the card that can be read with a reader.

The pilot project for MNIC was launched in November 2003 and was to be wrapped up within a year. With hindsight, home ministry officials acknowledged that it was too ambitious a target.

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