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Bhutan adopts National Identity Bill

Cambodia and Bangladesh make new moves in ID space
Bhutan adopts National Identity Bill

Bhutan has adopted the National Digital Identity Bill 2023, setting up a framework for its national digital ID system that will allow its citizens to access digital services through verifiable identity credentials. The Himalayan nation’s parliament voted to adopt the bill on Monday.

Before the Monday vote, the parliament repealed two disputed clauses in order to speed up the adoption of the bill. The first one suggested that the National Digital Identity Company becomes a public limited company with all the shares owned by Druk Holding and Investments Limited. The second clause referred to a change of language in the offenses and penalties part of the Bill, the Bhutan Broadcasting Service reports.

Bhutan launched the digital ID system this year with the crown prince being the first person to enroll in it. The project was spearheaded by Karma Dorji, the country’s Minister for Industry, Commerce, and Employment. During parliament’s discussion on the bill, Bhutan lawmakers received a total of 55 recommendations for the bill, with privacy among the major concerns.

The government has promised that no citizen will be left behind in the digital initiative after members of the country’s National Council voiced concerns about the accessibility of the system for persons with disabilities. The National Digital Identity system will ensure user-friendly interfaces integrated with screen readers and other assistive technologies according to internationally recognized accessibility standards. The system will also offer multilingual support, including regional languages: Around two dozen languages are spoken across the 797,000 population.

Bangladesh starts ID card distribution among foreign workers in UAE

Bangladesh started the distribution of national ID cards (NIDs) to its nationals working abroad on Monday, with migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates among the first to receive the new document.

This is the first time Bangladeshi expatriates abroad have received a national ID card, allowing them to send remittances to families legally and opening up new possibilities such as mobile banking. Without official IDs many migrant workers were forced to send money through gray channels such as “hundi,” an informal system of transferring money that dates to Medieval India.

The service is set to be expanded to Bangladeshi workers in the rest of the Middle East and Europe, according to the Financial Express.

The new Bangladeshi ID system includes assigning a unique National Identification Number (NIN) to all citizens, including children. In June, the country’s Department of Home Affairs took over the responsibility of issuing national ID cards from the Election Commission.

Cambodia bans using IDs as collateral for loans

Cambodian authorities have banned using national identity cards for loans, with the Ministry of Interior issuing a warning to financial institutions or loan operators engaging in the practice.

The decision was issued last Friday after it was discovered that several loan operators both in the formal and informal sectors, pawnshops or consumer goods stores have been using ID cards as collateral violating guidelines of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), Khmer Times reports.

In 2022, the country announced its digital ID system named Integrated Population Identification System. The system has allowed Cambodians to receive identity documents digitally, including ID cards and passports, and access to a broader range of services.

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