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Newborns to get national IDs

  • Published at 12:43 am September 3rd, 2018
Sample of a smart ID card, issued by Bangladesh government Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The cards are to be issued within 45 days of birth

A 2014 plan to issue national identity cards to newborns will likely be implemented next year.

Back then, the Election Commission had planned to issue NID cards to newborns within 45 days of their birth.

Several NID wing officials said the commission created the rule in 2014 in line with the National Identity Registration Act 2010. The act says identity of citizens will be registered and NID cards will be given to those ineligible to vote.

The NID wing has decided to formulate their working plan to ensure identity cards for all, including newborns.

During chief election commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad’s tenure, the commission collected the data of 15 to 17-year-old citizens in 2015.

The names of citizens born on or before January 1, 1998, were published on January 31, 2016; the names of people born on or before January 1, 1999, were listed on January 31, 2017. 

Even though their information has been updated, they were not issued NID cards.

Election Commission officials said citizens below 18 do not have NID cards. This causes problems when registering SIM cards, obtaining passports, or opening bank accounts.

A proposal was made to collect birth registration information for those born on January 1, 2008 but an election commissioner opposed it. The commissioner said such a step should not be taken before the election as many people would suspect the commission’s motive.

The commission collected the data of those who turned 18 before January 1 this year and published the updated voter list on January 31.

NID wing Director General Brig Gen Md Saidul Islam said they would start working on issuing cards to newborns after the parliamentary election.

The birth registration authority of districts and upazilas will collect data on children. This will be stored the Election Commission’s database. A 10-digit Unique ID number will be given to the child.

These IDs will be similar to NIDs, but they will not be usable as voter ID. Saidul said minors can use these IDs at: schools, colleges, to travel abroad, and open bank accounts, before turning 18.

Once they are 18, they will have to update the IDs at the election office before they can vote.

The unique number will remain unchanged throughout a person’s life. No changes to the ID will be possible—including to the date of birth.

Steps for registration

Election Commission officials said the children will not be biometrically registered even though they will get unique IDs. Biometric registration will only take place once the child turns nine— since biometrics may be changed later if it is done before this age. 

Children’s biometrics will be registered by schools—for the Primary School Certificate examination. Those who miss out will be registered in the second phase during the Junior School Certificate exam.

Those who do not have the opportunity to go to school will undergo biometric registration at the election office.

Saving time and money

If someone’s data is with the Election Commission, then the Commission will not need to repeatedly collect information to update voter data. This will save the government work hours and money.

The election officials will not need to go door to door to collect information. The data will be updated automatically in the server.

Brig Gen Saidul said all citizens will have to be accountable. There will not be any way for wrong-doers to evade accountability. Parents will be helf accountable for their children under 18.