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Nepal to assign unique ID number at birth as part of digital ID program

Nepal to assign unique ID number at birth as part of digital ID program

Digital identity for individuals will soon start at birth or shortly thereafter in Nepal, where the government has begun issuing digital numbers to children as part of birth registration, according to a report from The Kathmandu Post. The move is part of a transition from citizenship certificates to biometric smart national ID cards that will include a photo, personal data and fingerprint biometrics.

“We have been informally providing national ID numbers to people at their birth registration across the country for the past two months,” confirms Mukesh Kumar Keshar, director at the Department of National ID and Civil Registration, which issues the digital ID numbers and biometric smart cards. “Such numbers are being given to around 2,000 people a day.”

In assigning unique national identity numbers at birth, the department hopes to make it easier for people to access government documents, including the biometric national ID. Printing and distribution has been sped up, following an enrollment campaign that registered and collected the data of 14.1 million people in the national database – over 90 percent of the total eligible population.

Keshar says the Department of National ID and Civil Registration has printed 3 million of the cards and delivered 1.8 million of those to district offices for distribution. Some 350,000 cards have been distributed, and a campaign is planned to expedite further distribution.

The government plans to eventually make the national digital ID cards mandatory. But the Kathmandu Post says citizenship certificates are still required to apply for driver’s licenses and other documents, as well as take Public Service Commission exams.

In addition to the national ID cards, Nepal offers biometric passports, produced with Idemia.

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