Nepal | July 06, 2020

Left alliance, government differ on NIC distribution

Rewati Sapkota
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  • National Identity Cards can also be used for receiving healthcare and welfare services

Kathmandu April 25

There is lack of consistency between the policies of the left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN Maoist Centre, and those of its government.

The left alliance task force has recommended that National Identity Cards should be distributed within a year, while the Ministry of Home Affairs says it will distribute NICs over the next five years.

Left alliance task force led by Bamdev Gautam formed to prepare economic policy and programme has proposed to distribute NIC to all citizens within a year.

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa’s Political Advisor Surya Subedi told THT that the government had been following the task force report. “The task force recommended policies and we are implementing them,” he said.

Gautam-led task force’s recommendations will be incorporated in the common minimum programme of the left alliance government. The MoHA policy was announced after the recommendation of the task force was handed over to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and CPN-MC Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

According to MoHA’s Home Administration Work Plan, the government will, under a pilot project, distribute NICs to 117,000 citizens — 110,000 to people of Panchthar and 7,000 to civil servants working at Singha Durbar by July 16 this year. As per the plan, the government will establish NIC management centre at the central level, while district administration offices will implement the project.

According to left alliance report, the estimated cost of NICs distribution stands at one billion rupees. It says collection of details and distribution of NICs should be taken ahead simultaneously by the district level project unit. The task force has recommended establishing a central project office for a year as well as districts level project offices. The government had established central project office for NIC distribution in 2011.

NICs will be smart cards with biometric data of the card bearer. The government had first come up with the idea of NIC in the fiscal 2008/09. However, the Cabinet approved the criteria fixed for the cards only on December 28, 2017.

The smart card will include personal information provided in an individual’s citizenship certificate along with other biological information.

NICs can also be used for receiving healthcare and welfare services. It will also help control crime in society, provide prompt and quality service to citizens at minimum cost and maintain good governance, said MoHA officials.

The smart cards will contain 25 security features. The government will not charge any amount for issuing NICs initially.


A version of this article appears in print on April 26, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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