Bhutanese who have attained the age of eight and above will soon have their biometric information collected as the government carries out the next stage of its recently-launched national digital identity program, the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) reports.
According to the state broadcaster, the biometrics-backed digital ID project, which will culminate in the issuance of unique digital identification numbers to citizens, is intended to enable access to a range of government services online.
The country’s Minister for Information and Communication Karma Donnen Wangdi said the biometrics-based digital ID, once available, would facilitate the process of identity verification for service seekers.
“One of the key requirements to delivering services online is the need to verify the identity of the applicant. Since we are unable to do that securely, most meaningful services like financial and land transaction-related services still require face to face interaction. To digitally transform that service, we require a secure and efficient way to verify the applicant’s identity,” the BBS quoted the Minister as saying following the launch of the project.
A pilot for the digital ID project has been conducted with data collected from about 25,000 people including students, rural residents and people with disabilities, the report notes.
The project is being implemented through collaboration from the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, Department of Immigration, and the Department of Civil Registration and Census.
There were reports in April that Bhutan was to initiate a new program in which the biometric data of citizens will be collected as part of efforts in the kingdom to fight crime.