By Mizan Rahman/Dhaka
The election commission (EC) in Bangladesh has said that it was preparing to issue smart national identity (NID) cards to more than 16mn new voters and the process would be completed by the end of 2018.
The move is a part of its plan to complete distribution of machine readable cards among all voters before the next national election.
As a first step, however, to meet up the new voters’ immediate needs, the EC will provide the existing laminated identity cards for a temporary period to some 11.8mn young voters who were included in the country’s electoral roll after the 2014 parliamentary elections.
But eventually the EC would replace those (11.8mn) with the smart ones and also provide the smart NID cards to 4.3mn more expected new voters by the end of next year.
The election commission in 2016 started the distribution of 90mn smart NID cards to replace the ones across the country by June 2017, but failed to do so within the deadline.
The number of the country’s voters increased to some 101.8mn, which will go up further at nearly 105mn in January 2018 when the updated electoral rolls will be published incorporating some 4.3mn possible voters and dropping 1.5mn dead voters.
“All voters will be provided with smart NID cards before the 11th national elections,” said EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed.
The new voters who were registered after 2014 but did not get NID cards will also be given laminated NID cards for a temporary period, he said.
As part of the plan to complete the distribution by December 2018, the EC will start providing voters with smart NID cards in 31 districts across the country on December 1 next.
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