Posted by: lrrp | March 31, 2008

e-NIC’s another flop, $ 50 Million down the drain


The Electronic National Identity Cards (e-NIC) project is poised to be another flop as a two decade- old technology is to be used to produce e-NICs.

The e-NICs produced under this technology can be easily forged and the Government will waste five billion rupees (US$ 50 million) on this project, some of the foreign bidders .

The Tender document which was given to bidders last Friday (28/03/08) does not ask bidders to manufacture e-NIC with the latest available technology in the world to avoid forging IDs. Instead page 172 of the Tender document has specified “PDF 417-Two Dimensional Barcode (TDB)” technology .

The Government is planning to issue 12 million e-NICs in seven years.
Industry experts warned that any organisation like the LTTE could easily forge e-NICs as they can obtain all the information of any e-NIC from an Optical reader, which is available in the open market for US $ 1000. When asked what was the safest way of producing e-NICs, they said that the latest technology is the SMART card or the Micro Computer Chip Card or the Integrated Circuit Card (ICC). When asked about the cost difference of the TDB cards and SMART Cards, these sources said “if the TDB card costs one dollar, the SMART Card will cost two dollars. But going with the SMART card is the best and the safest way as SMART Cards have zero possibility as far as forging is concerned.”

Other informed sources alleged that the Tender has been designed to provide the bid to a German Company.

The local partner of the German Company was also involved in preparing the technical specifications of the Tender in 2005. The Deputy Controller of Immigration and Emigration, M.N.Ranasinghe who is one of the members in the e-NIC project, declined to comment.


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