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ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) said on Wednesday that the subsidy on providing computerised national identity cards (CNICs) to local applicants had now been partially withdrawn.

Nadra said in a statement that it did not make profit on the issuance of ID cards.

The fee for national identity cards for overseas Pakistanis (Nicop), which used to help provide subsidy for local applicants, has been decreased on the directives of the Supreme Court.

An analysis of Nadra’s financial statement presented during the Supreme Court’s suo motu hearing revealed that the authority incurred a loss of Rs40 per card issued to Pakistanis even after rationalisation of prices.

Nadra has increased the fee for Smartcard from Rs400 to Rs750 for normal, Rs800 to Rs1,150 for urgent and from Rs1,600 to Rs2,500 for executive. The same tariff will apply to modification, renewal and duplicate Smartcards.

There was zero fee for the first-time issuance of ordinary CNIC which will continue to be so. But for others the fee has been increased from Rs75 to Rs400 for normal, Rs300 to Rs1,150 for urgent and from Rs1,000 to Rs2,150 for executive.

An official of Nadra told Dawn that the minimum fee for Nicop was $35 in the Middle East and $70 in other countries, which has now been reduced to $17 and $39, respectively.

On the directives of the Supreme Court, the subsidy on local cards has been reduced to minimise the fee for Nicop. However, the new fee of normal and urgent ID card is less than the cost incurred on it.

A Nadra spokesman said the high fee of Nicop was also due to the fact that Nadra suffered losses on operating 14 centres across the world, 26 foreign missions and maintaining high-availability of web-based technology infrastructure 24/7.

Therefore, Nadra incurred an average cost of Rs976.56 per card issued within the country and abroad. While the regular CNIC was issued either free of cost or for Rs75, Smartcard was being issued in different categories at rates ranging between Rs400 and Rs1,600.

In a nutshell, Nadra received an average fee of Rs936.37 for every card, wherein the average fee received for a local card was Rs494. The average fee received for an overseas card was Rs5,000.

Nadra said the Supreme Court had ordered rationalisation of the disparity between the pricing of the cards issued to Pakistani citizens within the country and those abroad.

In the light of the directives of the Supreme Court, Nadra has rationalised the pricing of CNICs/Nicop.

Subsequently, the federal cabinet has approved and notified the rationalised fee structure.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018