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French firm’s offer for 9cr Smart NIDs approved

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Staff Reporter The Cabinet Purchase Committee on Wednesday approved the offer of Oberthur Technologies, a French company, for production and distribution of 9 crore (90 million) Smart National Identity Cards (Smart NIDs) under an Election Commission project. A meeting of the committee, chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, gave the nod to the French firm’s proposal to produce and distribute the NIDs at a contract value of Tk 796.26 crore (about $ 102.571 million). Cabinet Division officials said now the Cabinet body’s proceedings will be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval. Once it’s approved by the PMO, the Election Commission will sign a deal with Oberthur Technologies to start its job. Official sources said the Election Commission has undertaken the Smart NID project with financial support from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA). As per the Election Commission (EC) plan, the Smart NID will be produced and distributed among the citizens within 2016. About the project, EC secretary M Sirajul Islam said the current National ID's poor security features has prompted the EC to go for introducing the Smart NID. "The existing NID, a laminated card, is very easy to copy and prepare a fake one due to its poor security features. Many unscrupulous people are taking advantage of enjoying the service by using fake NID," he said in a summary which was earlier sent to the Cabinet Division. But the Smart NID, according to the EC secretary, will have more than 25 security features that will not be possible to copy and produce a fake one. As a result, it will help accurately identify a citizen using as a national identity document, he mentioned. Besides, Sirajul Islam said, the proposed Smart NID will provide a scope to examine a citizen's identity offline as well. "Ultimately, the new card will help ensure accountability in taking public and private services and it will establish good governance through enhancing the e-governance," the EC secretary said.