National ID cards find no use

Published On: May 12, 2019 05:00 AM NPT By: Giriraj Baskota

PANCHTHAR, May 12: Suman Lama of Phidim was genuinely excited after he received the much-hyped national Identity card some seven months ago. However, Lama now feels that the card has no use at all.

The card includes the personal and biometric details of the card-holder. It was expected that the digitization of the personal details of the citizens would help the government provide efficient services. But the service seekers now complain that their national ID cards are used nowhere.

“Wherever I go, government officials ask me to show my citizenship card, not my national ID card. So, I am not using my national ID card anywhere, contrary to my belief in the past that this card will work everywhere,” said Lama.Concluding that the national ID card has no use at all, he carries with himself his citizenship card, driving license and other certificates but never the national ID card. The government started distributing the national ID cards from November last year, aiming to replace the citizenship cards and digitize the personal details of the citizens.

“Not even a single government office recognizes this national ID card so I think this card is useless,” said Susan Rai of Milkajung, adding, “It seems the government distributed the national ID cards without any serious homework.”

In November last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs started distributing the national ID card from Panchthar. Even as Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa inaugurated the national ID card distribution process, handing over the first card to 101-year-old Bhagwati Devi Bhandari, the national ID cards have remained useless so far.

Officials say the national ID law is under consideration in parliament. “We are the first district to distribute the national ID cards. The law is pending at parliament. Preparations are underway to distribute the cards in 15 other districts in the second phase,” said Murari Basnet, Chief District Officer of Panchthar, adding, “It can be used only after the second phase works are completed. Since the national ID card is a digital card, some features are yet to be inserted in it.”

About 75,000 national ID cards have been printed while a total of 85,400 people have applied for it in the district so far.

Officials deployed from the District Administration Office have collected the personal biometric details for the national ID card.

Under the government's national ID piloting project, national ID cards were distributed to the locals of Panchthar and government employees of Singha Durbar in the first phase.

CDO Basnet said card-reading machines are mandatory if the national ID cards are to be used.

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