New Delhi: Rajender Singh can't stop talking about his latest acquisition. His family and 23 others in Pooth Khurd village in North West Delhi are the first few to receive the Union Government's new multi-purpose national identity cards.
And Singh is an excited man.
“My children can now go anywhere in the world. It has the names of all my children and grandchildren,” says Rajender Singh.
The new card seeks to provide an individualised identification system. Inside it is a microprocessor chip, a finger biometric and a digital signature. On it are details of the holder's date and place of birth and a unique 16-digit National Identification Number.
Conceptualised in 2003, the Pilot project will cover over 30 lakh Indians across 12 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, and the Union territory of Pondicherry.
The card's makers say it can't be tampered with or duplicated. But they admit making ID cards for a billion-plus population will be a huge ask.
“Chip is not produced in India, it has to be outsourced and there’s tremendous challenge to the industry,” says Deputy Director General MNIC, S K Chakrabarti.
The challenges don't end there. Even the card's proud owners have some confessions to make.
“The procedure is long drawn and not easily understandable,” says Singh.
Still, the success of the pilot project in this sleepy hamlet shows very soon all Indians could all be smart card citizens.