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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

ID design reflects India's development potential

(Jiefang Daily)

08:21, November 02, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.2 (PD Online) --On Oct. 29, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed a decision on amending the Law of the People's Republic of China on Resident Identity Cards, with a provision to input fingerprint into the identity card henceforth in order to aid state organs as well as financial, telecommunications, education and other departments in the identification of ID card holders. It reminds me of an experience in my recent visit to India.

Together with over 10 counterparts from other media agencies, I paid a visit to India at the end of July this year as invited by India's foreign ministry. One day, we were led to "UDAI", an ID card administration department. India has a population of more than 1.2 billion. However, there are still quite many people there who cannot get social services and social welfare because of their inability to prove their identity as they do not have necessary certificates due to the backward economy.

With the aim of one ID card per citizen, India has launched an ID card project since Sept. 2010 and has completed acquisition of 50 million people's information up to the end of July this year since it began. UDAI plans to collect information of half the nation's population, namely 600 million people, by 2014.

This is a huge task because the Indian ID card employs information technology from the start. The information that an Indian ID card contains both basic and further information, such as name, date of birth, 10-finger fingerprints, eyelash and pupil.

We can easily explain the inclusion of fingerprints, but why is eyelash and pupil information also considered? The leader said that it is hard to record fingerprints of two groups of people, namely people who have worked their whole lives, especially those in some remote areas whose fingerprints have been worn off due to a life of hard labor and certain disabled people. Recognition of adults' eyelashes and pupils is comparable with fingerprints. Such information will be collected twice from children — at ages 5 and 15 — to take into consideration that children are still in a period of growth.

The fingerprint recording device is as simple as the point-of-sale machine at a supermarket, and people can just press their fingers on a stamp-size scanner to have their fingerprints recorded. The device for collecting information about people’s pupils is also simple to use and looks just like a Polaroid camera. The information about one's pupils is collected after a picture is taken of their eyes.

Who have paid the costs of these information collectors and devices? An Indian official told us that it takes about 1 dollar to collect all the necessary information of one person, but due to information processing and other factors, each identity card costs 3 dollars. The costs are completely covered by governments at all levels. In other words, if they collect the information of 1 billion people, the Indian government will pay a total of over 3 billion U.S. dollars. Given the fact that people in poorer remote regions need identity cards more urgently, this massive project first started in remote regions.

After returning from India, I have been frequently asked about my impression of the Indian economy. It is hard to answer this question. However, I am certain that given India's remarkable progress in using ID cards and its burgeoning innovative economy, China has a lot to learn from this large and populous neighbor.

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Leave your comment8 comments

  1. Name

venu at 2011-12-09141.0.8.*
good article. this what we should learn from each other as neighbour. chinese economy may be booming and people may have money but u dont have democracy and freedom to live happily
Binod Kumar Acharya at 2011-11-28101.212.149.*
Good to see, enhancing relationship between two enormous neighbor. this ID card is not only part of public distribution system for poor. it"s almost nationality card of Indian people.
Dhruv at 2011-11-16216.136.77.*
It is very strange to see leaders of India and china having so many differences whereas we share such a rich and wonderful cultural heritage! Both are great civilization and have survived the brutal time. I think it is the right time for both the countries to come on the same side!
Korasree, Arizona,USA at 2011-11-1570.162.218.*
Great article! I can't wait to see down the road ten years from now.
stan at 2011-11-11115.113.238.*
I am an indian reader with much of interest in chinese growth. Especially the remarkable manner in which chinese people have outshown everyone. There is so much China and India can share, if both the Govts can put in the right kind of effort.

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