Indian state to create central citizen database

The aim is to store statistical and biometric data of eight million citizens, and make information sharing and access to e-government services easier.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

The Indian state of Uttaranchal is developing a central data repository and a public key infrastructure (PKI) to make it easier for its citizens to access government e-services.

The project will be financed to the tune of S$3 million (US$1.9 million) by the State of Uttaranchal, according to a company statement Thursday by CrimsonLogic, the appointed IT services vendor. Uttaranchal, in north India, is home to eight million citizens and 109 government departments.

A spokesperson from the Singapore-based CrimsonLogic told ZDNet Asia that the initiative is the first of its kind in India.

The project will consist of three parts--a household survey, design and implementation of the repository or Citizen Data Vault, and the development of PKI for citizens to access government services online or via public kiosks. CrimsonLogic expects to complete the project by the end of 2006.

Efforts are already underway to collect and store citizen data, such as addresses and the number of members in a household, the company noted in the statement. Individuals are also photographed and asked to provide their fingerprints. The data is then stored in the system, which will become a common referral platform for all government departments.

"The Citizen Data Vault will provide one of the key prerequisites of citizen-centric eGovernment services--the sharing of information across agencies," said Tan Sian Lip, director of consulting at CrimsonLogic, in the statement. "This sharing of information in turn will enable the deep integration of government processes so that e-services can be designed around the lives and needs of citizens. Citizens, he added, can enjoy reduced processing times, less paperwork and bureaucracy, and improved standards of service.

During the last phase of the project, the Indian state will also issue smart cards under the PKI pilot to a select group of citizens. This is aimed at facilitating secure authentication during transactions between the government and its citizens and businesses. CrimsonLogic said in the statement that the use of the smart cards could eventually be extended to cover all state e-services, including application for permits and government schemes and grants, tax payment and job registration.

According to the CrimsonLogic spokesperson, about 1 percent of the state's population, or 80,000 residents, will be issued the smart cards in the pilot.

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