Bangladesh to give ID-cards to citizens

New Delhi, Jan 28 (Calcutta Tube) Bangladesh will issue national identity cards to its citizens on the basis of electoral data compiled during the last parliamentary elections, its top election official said here.

Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner A.T.M. Shamsul Huda said Wednesday during a discussion on ‘Challenges in management of electoral rolls’ that the country’s poll panel had decided to manage the task of issuing identity cards to preserve neutrality of the process.

He said 81 million voters had been registered for the 2008 parliamentary polls using laptops and finger print scanners.

The identity cards will be issued ‘on the basis of this (electoral) database,’ he said.

The CEC said the poll panel had sought ‘active cooperation’ of Bangladesh Army in registering voters due to its experience of elections in international peacekeeping missions.

He said that a problem faced by the commission was lack of accurate information about dates of birth. Citing his own example for having two dates of birth, he said: ‘This is because most births took place outside hospitals and there is no reliable record.’

The discussion was part of an international symposium organised by the Election Commission of India, which is celebrating its diamond jubilee this year.

Nepal’s acting Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety, who spoke on ‘Experience in managing post conflict election in Nepal: the expectations and challenges’, dwelled on his country’s mixed history of democracy.

He said there had been periods when ‘democracy had been taken back’ by the monarchy.

Uprety said 17.6 million voters were eligible to cast vote in the 2008 constituent assembly elections. He said a pilot project had been launched to include photographs and finger prints in the voter identification process.

Expressing satisfaction over the sizeable presence of women in the constituent assembly, he said major caste and ethnic groups had also found representation.

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