[Dhaka Correspondent] The Election Commission expects the government to promulgate an ordinance making national ID cards mandatory for citizens to get 22 services and to set up a national registration and database authority before initiating voters’ registration job in Dhaka slated for December.
Once the ordinance is promulgated, no one will be allowed access to the specified facilities or services, mostly related to daily chores, unless they produce the identity cards or the government relaxes the related provisions. ID cards will, however, be issued only for voting purposes in the beginning to encourage eligible people to register their names on the electoral roll at the registration centers.
“Election Commission sees voter registration in Dhaka city as a big challenge. Promulgation of the ordinance will help towards completing the project,” election commissioner M Sakhawat Hussain told newsmen at his office Wednesday. “No one will be listed as a voter without the registration of the name on the electoral roll and no one will get the national ID card.”
EC planned to start field work for the preparation of the electoral roll and the national ID cards on December 1. In August it sent a draft of the ordinance to the government for promulgation to make the use of national ID cards mandatory. According to the draft, the government will set up a national registration and database authority to be tasked with the preparation of the ID cards under the commission’s supervision. The new authorities as a permanent body will keep collecting particulars of people and issuing national identity cards.
The commission, however, proposed a provision empowering the government to relax the stringent conditions on the use of the identity cards. People who are not eligible at present to be registered as voters will need to wait for the cards as the commission has not taken the responsibilities of preparing and issuing the cards for them.
“Government will be authorized to exempt citizens of a particular range of ages from the regulation. It can also exempt a particular section of people from compliance with the regulation for government services and facilities. Even the government can relax the provisions of making it mandatory for the people to show the cards to have some facilities,” the ordinance draft said.
The draft said, “For any services from the government, its departments and institutions or from any statutory government offices, the citizens should submit their national identity cards.”
22 services for which cards will be required: Issuance and renewal of passport, driving license, trade license, tax identification number, business identification number and bank account, and beneficiary owner’s account with stock exchanges. Citizens will need to provide the identity card numbers for connections of gas, water and electricity, telephone, mobile, internet and cable television. They will need to produce the card numbers for registration with public examinations, any public services, marriage registration and loans of any sort.
None will get government subsidy facilities, allowance and relief if s/he does not have an ID card. ID cards will be mandatory for selling and buying land and motor vehicles, admission of children to schools, lodging cases and appeal to court.
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The voter list national ID project office is situated at Islamic Foundation Bhaban, Agargaon, Dhaka.
Telephone numbers: (+88) 02-9116971, 02-9116927, 02-8150846, 01730020504, 01911487902, 01819724790, 01719403343, 01720275175, 01711708837, 01717580341, 01712052014, 01552303489
The Army headquarters central coordination cell, MS Branch, is situated at Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka:
Telephone numbers: (+88) 02-8714399, 01732153748, 01711384145