New Biometric Digital ID mooted | Daily News

New Biometric Digital ID mooted

Cards to contain array of information
Gateway to variety of Govt services
Secure access to details for Govt institutions

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday reviewed the progress of Government's programme to introduce a unique Digital Identity Card to each and every citizen of the country by obtaining their biometric details once in their lifetime.

President also gave instructions to officials to create an environment for the citizens to obtain new digital identification cards soon.

He was addressing a meeting with senior government officials representing the Department of Registration of Persons, Public Administration Ministry, Defence Ministry, Department of Emigration and Immigration, and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) over the introduction of unique digital identity cards at the Presidential Secretariat.

The new unique Digital Identity Card will have accurate details of every citizen as expected by different Government departments which are governed by different legal provisions. These departments can have access to these details online.

Biometric details of every citizen required for obtaining a passport, driving license, pension, Samurdhi benefits and paying taxes will be fed to this unique Digital Identity Card, which can be read by scanning machines and online by the relevant agencies.

In addition this card will have information   which is required when casting the vote at elections.

The President stressed the importance of introducing a digital identity card to Sri Lanka when he was Secretary of Defence and preliminary work on this programme started in 2012.

The processing of unique Digital Identity Cards will be carried out under the close supervision of an expert panel, the Information and Communication Technology Agency and the Presidential Task Force.  

Sri Lanka was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a National Identity Card (NIC) back in 1973, which has since been emulated by many other countries. The NIC has since become the gateway for a host of services available to the public at Government departments. However, it is a paper document with only the minimum details of the bearer.   

New security imperatives as well as the need to expedite public services have necessitated the need for a digital ID card that contains more information on the card holders. Such cards are already in use in many other countries. These cards are also useful in the case of an accident as the victim’s medical indices can be quickly accessed by the hospitals.  

Secretary to the President Dr P B Jayasundara, Chief Presidential Advisor Lalith Weeratunga  and Secretary of Defence retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne were present at this discussion.  


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