CEC, Home Ministry at loggerheads over NID
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, shifting National Identity (NID) card preparation work from the Election Commission (EC) to the Home Ministry was 'appropriate.'
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Wednesday said EC would face difficulties in conducting elections if NID card related services are shifted to the Home Ministry.
"Any controversy in this regard is totally undesirable. Taking opinion from all, we have placed the NID-related services under the Home Ministry. We have also taken advice from experts in this respect," he told journalists after distributing the Bangabandhu scholarships among the children of jail inmates at the Department of Prisons on Wednesday.
At present, NID-related services are being provided under the EC, which has developed the NID database containing information about 10 crore citizens who are aged above 18.
The NID services include issuing national identity cards to citizens, administering all related activities, including maintaining a national citizen registration database and delivering identity verification services to qualified public and private organisations.
A full-fledged NID wing was established following the passage of the National Identity Registration Act 2010. Bangladesh launched NID cards with photographs in 2007-2008, as part of updating the voter list.
However, the CEC said decision to hand over NID-related services to the government has not been finalised yet. "It's not something like a chair and a table that we can move here to there. We need to hold talks on this issue." Additionally, he said that NID services were created for voting purposes only.
On the Cabinet Division letter sent to the EC Secretariat to shift NID related services to the Home Ministry, the CEC also said that the commission was not officially informed about it. The NID-related services needed to be discussed before it could be shifted. "Therefore, I hope that a proposal for formal talks will be made soon," he added.