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Saturday, June 27, 2009

India To Put Population Into Database

The Mail Online reports today that India will place all 1.1 billion of their citizens in a national identification database. This will be the second largest such personal database in the world, after China.

According to the article:

The government believes the scheme, which will be finalised over three years, will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers.

It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials.

Like Britain's £5billion ID cards plan, due to roll out in 2011/12, India's scheme is not without controversy.

Observers have raised questions including how the cards will actually improve the delivery of services and also concerns that the scheme could be disruptive.

In an interview in The Independent today associate fellow of the Asia programme at Chatham House, Charu Lata Hogg, said: 'It cannot be denied that the system of proving identity in India is complicated and confusing.

'But a system of national ID cards can technically introduce a new route to citizenship.

'This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo without access to public services, employment and basic welfare.'


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