ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Monday promulgated the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) Amendment Ordinance 2021 under which different agencies will be bound to immediately provide their data to the authority.

According to the amendment made to Section 7 of Nadra Ordinance 2000, non-provision of data to Nadra will be considered an irregularity and action will be taken as per the law.

A source told Dawn that the dream of introducing highly secured Smart National Identity Card (SNIC) had so far not come true as the card being issued by Nadra did not provide the required functions.

The main reasons behind ineffectiveness of the SNICs is that the smart card system has so far not been linked with other related departments like banks, tax collection authorities, property registration authorities, immigration department, arms and driving licenses issuing authorities etc.

Under the ordinance, different agencies will be bound to provide information to authority

An insider said Nadra had written to the interior ministry many times in the past to allow the authority to link its SNIC system with other related departments but sometimes the ministry was reluctant to do so and sometimes departments concerned were said to be in no mood to share their date with Nadra.

The SNIC was introduced in Oct 2012 but, the PTI government believes, the previous government was reluctant to make SNIC fully functional and effective as it could expose misdeeds of powerful elite class, politicians and top bureaucrats because bank transactions, tax evasion and sale and purchase of moveable and immovable properties could be traced through the smart card.

According to the original concept of the SNIC, it should have 35 security features and could also be used as an ATM card in local and international banks, secondary identity card at international airports and insurance card etc. However, till now it is being used as an ordinary identity card.

Nadra Chairman Malik Tariq, who had introduced the SNIC in Oct 2012 during his previous tenure, had told Dawn that the smart card technology was aimed at improving security by making forgery more difficult as a forger must not only modify the data printed on the face and back of ID card but also the chip to ensure that the two sets of information matched.

“The chip contains an arsenal of technical measures making modification not only extremely difficult but also easily detectable. It could be an instrument to be used by the government to roll out e-government services powered by Nadra’s National Identity System (NIS),” he had said.

The SNIC could provide a platform to the government to move towards welfare state by providing accidental life insurance, health insurance, emergency relief, home remittance, pension disbursement and e-voting in future.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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