Published on 12:00 AM, September 20, 2021

Govt mulls new citizens’ database

BBS to collect data from all; each citizen will have a unique 16-digit identification number

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics is going to develop what officials said would be an extensive and comprehensive identity database containing demographic and biometric particulars of every resident of the country.

The BBS will collect the data to develop the National Population Register (NPR) where demographic and biometric data will be stored permanently.

The citizens will be provided with a unique 16-digit identification number, BBS officials said.

The new initiative was discussed at a workshop organised by BBS at the planning ministry.

Planning Minister MA Mannan said the issue of privacy should be dealt with caution while developing the NPR.

Shamsul Alam, state minister for planning, said implementation of such projects tends to get delayed and a deadline should be set.

Shahadat Hossain, director of Census Wing and team leader of the NPR, said the NPR will create a comprehensive demographic, biometric and administrative database for every resident of the country, irrespective of citizenship.

It will guide the government, non-government organisations and other stakeholders to identify, locate and communicate with every individual for administrative and legal purposes, he said in a presentation.

The database will ensure proper distribution of social services and safety net programmes in the most efficient and cost-effective way, and it will offer a single window for personal identity verification, he added.

The NPR will help detect and eliminate corruption and it will ensure security for all, he said.

It will be continually updated and the record will be permanent.

The data to be stored in the NPR will include name, sex, education, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, religion, duration of stay at present address, permanent address, and details of the NID, passport, mobile phone and birth registration.

Information of each individual's family members, employment, health, economic status, nationality, citizenship, and residence would also be stored in the NPR.

Biometric information will include prints of 10 fingers and data needed for IRIS and face recognition.

Shahadat told The Daily Star that the project was still being conceptualised and opinions of the stakeholders were being collected at yesterday's event .

Once the NPR is developed, there will be no need for a population survey every 10 years, he said, adding that it will integrate databases of the NID, passport and driving licence.

The NPR would accumulate all sorts of data in one place to be monitored by the government, he said.