The Department of Registration of Persons in collaboration with the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) is all set to bring Sri Lanka into the digital age.
According to Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, steps are being taken to issue electronic NICs (national identity cards) to each and every citizen of Sri Lanka. He further stated that this would be prioritized over all other elements of the national budget seeing as it is of critical importance to the overall development strategy of the Government.
The Government plans to launch the eNIC by early January of 2016. All existing NICs would be converted into an electronic identity card.
Accordingly all relevant information of a child since their date of birth will be incorporated into the eNIC. Once the child reaches the age of 16, he/she will be assigned an identity card number and the new electronic NIC will be issued.
This would actually make sense as all details of a citizen could be stored in this so a single database can be maintained for each citizen. In addition, the new ID card would make our lives a tad easier by making banking and other services readily accessible. The eNIC can also be used in a situation such as verification of driving licenses, passports and other identity-related services.
It would also alleviate the risk of corruption and fraudulent/illegal practices and ensure that only those deserving people get assistance and help as and when required.
Thus far, the concept of eNICs has been used in countries such as the US. Looking a little closer to home, India launched a programme to issue eNICs to their citizens five years ago.