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National ID cards

This week in ID-ing Nepal, Indu Nepal wrote about the government's plan to introduce a multi-purpose national identity (NID) card.

The government argues such cards are necessary to enable people to access public services. Nepal Police has argued a national database of personal information of citizens will help them fight crime better.

However, as reader Anil Pandit points out, the system could be an 'intrusion' into the privacy of citizens. Pandit writes: "As mentioned by the government official, they will use it to track people's property and other sensitive information, I am concerned that there is more chance of this information being abused by government officials. It will also make government more tyrannical and selectively target the citizens who oppose the government or government officials."

We would like to hear from you: Is a national ID card system cause for good cheer or fear?

This forum will be moderated by Indu Nepal. As always, please be civil in your arguments and refrain from name-calling and personal attacks.

1. Samir Maharjan
I think it is the good idea to make such national IDs, but there might be the 100% privacy on those individuals matters, which must be confirmed by the Nepal Government.
Such kind of practice are being regulated by the International Systems, and therefore which will be very helpful to Nepali citizens as well as Nepali Governments. 
But, is it possible to make it nationally ?

2. Rabin
Would be glad to see it soon in our country. 

3. Magar Chhatra

Is this National ID card going to replace regular Citizenship card ? If not, why do Nepali people need dublicate on similar information paying extra money without new gain and change? Nepali government should manage database from citizenship card information. Regarding protection and use of those database system's personal information in particular subjects, government is solely liable.

4. Indu
Thanks all for the comments. 

Magar Chhatra: Yes, the idea is that the ID card will be a biometric version of the citizenship card. But, over time, it will have other information like property and vehicle ownership, education status, information regarding your health etc. You could run this multi-purpose card through a machine and access your personal information from a central database. The government of Nepal hasn't drawn any solid plans yet, but that is how a biometric card would work. 

Samir Maharjan: When and if the governmen issues national ID cards, it will be distributed throughout the country. Officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs said it will be possible even in remote areas with the use of modern technology i.e. portable computers and other gizmos.

5. Tek

Its certainly a good step for Nepal having ID card. It helps in many ways for country and society in todays fast changing world. If one thinks about negetivity of ID card then no one should born in this earth because they have to die, get sick, pass through many turmoils like today in Nepal and face lots of problems in their life, so why take birth and why alive ? Its better no birth - no id card.

6. mr. pun
we want to make sure that the govt will not abuse this to their benefit. in the past, the govt has always be careless with such info. they have to carefully line up regulation for themselves and their officers. i mean, as someone mentioned, corruption is rampant in our country. if mr. dahal bribes mr. chettri in office "A" of some remote district where most of these abuses take place, some poor villager will again be cheated by some educated, temporarily visiting city/town officials. who knows, lands and property can be legally be stolen and sold by corrupt officials of our villagers. unless there is good security, NO FINGER printing since this is our traditional method, esp in less educated districts on how land, property, and business is done. a plain old ID card will suffice for now as long one has nagritha card.

7. Mr.Ashish
Identity Theft,Easy prey of Thieves,Robberies,and false Accusation will be the Major problem slowly arising to what they call it Safe and Great Step entering the Country Coz,I dont trust the Government Privacy policy.

So i wouldn't be too happy to get my Finger prints Done.ahah No way.

8. Battisputali
In a polity with irresponsible policymakers, incompetent bureaucrats and quite a bit of corruption, the ease of information access that a biometric ID provides can only lead to identity theft and other negative effects on personal liberty. Tough legislation could curb potential identity theft but common sense and quite a lot of precedents (on sensible legislation not being followed with implementation) prove that any sort of safety net for the security of sensitive personal data will not be provided.

9. riturajonta
There has been lots of issue about privacy when the ID card will be issued government official will misuse it, that every one's private information will not be private any more, information about there property, land will be misused etc. but you already provide these information to government already. when you are issued citizen certificate (paper one) you have to give your thumb print, your photo, DOB etc. and are recorded in paper, so if some one wants to misuse it all they have to do is open up ledger and look through no one will even know if they have been accessed. but if u have computerized database then they have to log in to access these information so it will be easier to track down who accessed and when. when makes it more secure then paper based data management. If you are worried about government finding out how many property u hold, then it looks like u don't want to pay tax on those with is illegal, hence able to prevent it. But with every thing there is always benefit and cost. but if your benefits exceed your cost then it will always good to go for it, even though there are some costs associate to it.

10. Magar Chhatra


Thank you for information on National ID card, the Hi Fi biometric version of tratditional citizenship card. If Nepali government can afford this futuristic system, certainly,  it will provide quick information at the time of need and could help in time decision making by one click. By the way, accessing fixed property infomation with handy National ID Card might prove oversmart idea in a long run. It will encourage people to judge with and Nepali society might carry false tradition of Landlord vs. Tenant regardless of their other capacities. Hence, the card needs to be recorded with necessary personal data including their blood group, illness and SOS contact.

11. kalu
all personal information such as property, date of birth, passport etc is also all accessible in zilla dhadda with nagarikta number. so whats the use of national id card? govt. can issue new electronic card for the old nagarikta. 

12. pujanepal
I will have a hard time to trust Nepali government to keep my personal information and history safe and secure, but, if implemented, safety and security of citizen's personal data should be the top priority for this ID Card project.

Paper records are safer (from hackers) because you have to physically go to a dusty office somewhere and spend hours looking for a specific page. Electronic records can be hacked into from anywhere in the world and searching for information is infinitely faster. So there is no comparision between the two methods. This is the reason identity theft is such a huge problem nowadays.

Also, I am 100% certain that the government will use my personal information against me at the first chance it gets if I happen to do anything that is not in favour of some corrupt government official. So, that is another of my concerns. All-powerful governemnts have a habit of infringing on person's liberty and misusing their power.

I think there are more worthwhile projects for the governement to spend their money on rather than implementing this ID card project. For example:

Government should prioritize computerizing their departments, converting their existing paper based systems into computer based systems.

It should implement anti corruption practices like strong internal controls, list of all the payable fees on a big boards for the public to see, clearly defined roles and juristiction for each official's position, etc. The goal should be to limit the chances for any official, business person or member of the public to engage in corruption.

It should focus on making their processes efficient so that citizens' requests for various services can be done in less time with less fees charged.

Just my suggestions...

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)