Govt to set up nat'l ID registration authority
The government is going to form a statutory body styled 'National Identities Registration Authority (NIRA)' to give legal coverage to Election Commission's national ID card and voter registration project.
The government is also promulgating an ordinance incorporating NIRA's formation process, its duties for issuing national ID cards, and conviction provision for wrongdoings by citizens in this regard.
The proposed ordinance will empower the home ministry to direct citizens to show their ID cards and submit copies to obtain certain services and facilities as citizens of the country, said law ministry sources.
National ID card will have to be showed or copies be submitted to obtain at least 18 facilities and services from public and private sector including utility and financial services, and for business, transportation, property, voting right and jobs.
The sources said the draft ordinance would incorporate a special provision to bring the already distributed ID cards under NIRA's jurisdiction.
With the objective of national identities registration, EC would hand over its collected information, data and biometric features to NIRA. The citizens' info and data would be considered as the property of the proposed statutory body, according to the draft.
The law ministry has recently prepared the draft in nine chapters which will be sent to EC soon.
Following approval by EC and then by the advisory council, President Iajuddin Ahmed will promulgate the ordinance, said ministry sources.
The sources said though the commission has launched the project of preparing and issuing national ID cards there is no law in the country in this regard.
As the military-backed caretaker government has initiated formulating a law, in absence of parliament it will be enacted by promulgating 'National Identities Registration Authority Ordinance, 2008'.
After promulgation of the ordinance the government will set up NIRA comprising a chairman and no more than four members through issuing a gazette notification.
The home ministry will appoint chairman and members to NIRA and also fix terms and conditions of their job.
A home ministry official with the rank of joint secretary or above will be appointed as member of NIRA, which would appoint its own staffs.
The proposed body would also be entitled to appoint a person or organisation as consultant to discharge its special duty.
NIRA's main task would be to collect, examine and preserve information, data and biometric features of the citizens, register those, and issue national ID cards. It would also fix and collect fees from the citizen for providing ID cards and other services.
According to fixed procedure, any person or organisation may apply to get information from NIRA, which will preserve information updating (if any citizen dies) it in coordination with birth and death registration.
Though EC collects only photograph, signature, prints of thumbs and point finger during voter registration NIRA will collect photograph, finger print, hand geometry, palm print, iris, facial recognition, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), signature and voice, according to draft ordinance.
The draft categorically mentions that for obtaining some facilities and services a citizen must show their national ID cards.
A citizen would need ID card to obtain and renew passport, driving licence, tax payer identification number (TIN), business identification number (BIN), bank loan, trade licence, government's subsidy and assistance; to apply for jobs, open bank account, withdraw government allowances, purchase and sell immovable property, participate in different insurance schemes; for transport registration, marriage and divorce registration, identifying voters in different polls; to get gas, water, electricity, telephone and mobile phone connections and open share application and Beneficiary Ownership Accounts.
To obtain the national ID card, a citizen will have to apply to the authorities through fixed procedures. The issued national ID card will be cancelled if anyone loses their citizenship.
A citizen would be able to correct information, if necessary, even after issuing national ID card and apply for a new one if lost.
The proposed ordinance incorporates provision of imprisonment and fine if someone provides false information, obtains more than one national ID card, distorts and damages information in the card and tampers with it.
To tamper with the national ID card will be considered as cognisable and non-bailable offence. Punishment provision for NIRA officials would also be in the ordinance for their neglect of duties.
The proposed statutory body will be able to settle an agreement with any person or organisation to discharge its work. But to do the same with a foreign government or international organisation it would require prior approval from the home ministry.