Wednesday, August 4

West Bengal: New voters to get smart ID cards with digitised information

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The Election Commission of India will provide new coloured voter ID cards to those who are registering their names for the first time.

Apart from the voter’s information details, this new smart polyvinyl chloride card — to be introduced for the first time in Bengal — will also have an invisible 10-digit standard identification number imprinted on the barcode of the card.

“The process of addition, deletion and modification has started from December 16 and will continue till January 15. On February 7, the commission will release the first draft voters’ list. The new voters, who have been registered in this first draft, will be given this new card,” said an official. The old black-and-white voter card will also remain valid, he added.

Asked about the process of replacing the old voter card with the new one, a senior official at the CEO office said, “There is a system of providing a new voter ID card against Rs 25. But, since this system is new, the commission is yet to decide on replacing the old card with a new one. We need enough infrastructural support in every district to do this. Primarily, we have decided to make provisions for the new voters. Once that process is complete, we will take a call on the existing voters.”

However, a senior Election Commission official said that in the long run, it wants to replace all voter ID cards. “There is also a huge financial implication in case the commission replaces all the voter ID cards. So, it needs to make the provision for that also,” the official added.

So, what’s new in the card? According to election commission officials, the W-series 16-digit identification number will be replaced with a standard 10 digit identification number in the new card. But the 16-digit number printed in the old black-and-white card will also be valid till the voter replaces it with a new one. “In the old voter ID card, there is a hologram to identify its authenticity, but in the new one, there will be an invisible number that can only be deciphered by the commission officials. This will ensure better security of the card,” the official added.

“The new card will also contain all the regular features like the name, father’s name, age, sex and residential address. Most of the information will be digitised and also stored in the barcode. Since the cards are made of synthetic plastic polymer, it will be waterproof and unbreakable. The process of making this card has already started in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh,” the official added.

According to the commission officials, the new card will be prepared and printed in two parts. First, the non-personalised PVC preprint, where the details of the commission, including the logo and the invisible number, will be printed by the CEO office. After this, the cards will be sent to the district administration. As the district administration is responsible for preparing the final voters’ list, they will print the personalised details of individual voters before sending it to the CEO office for distribution.


Source: Times of India

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