The Union Cabinet approved restructuring of the BADP programme in the last week of December 2018
An estimated 140-150 million Indians living in 111 strategic border districts, who constantly face harassment over lack of identity proof, may get ‘identity cards’ to prove their nationality and improve security, according to a report by the Hindustan Times.
Senior government officials told the newspaper that the move is part of the planned restructuring of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), on which the Centre spends about Rs 9,000 crore annually to meet the ‘special development needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border’.
The Union Cabinet approved restructuring of the BADP programme in the last week of December 2018, a government official told the newspaper, adding that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India (RGI) to study the “feasibility of issuing identity cards to the Indian citizens living in the border districts, so that people are not forced to leave these areas for want of better infrastructure. The idea is to make strategic and important villages along the border, model villages that have every possible infrastructure.”
As part of this programme, the government will also focus on creating infrastructure in these important border districts.
In 2017, MHA had reviewed the BADP programme and met representatives from 17 states that encompass border districts.
The Kargil Review Committee too had recommended issue of identity cards to those living in border districts, the report suggests, adding that the cards will be issued using the National Population Register’s (NPR) database, which maintains a record of all Indians. It will have inbuilt security features and can be verified offline.
The database uses ‘family’ as the basic enumeration unit and has biometrics of all individuals. It was compiled during the 2010-11 Census and updated in 2016. The government plans to update the database using data collected for the 2021 Census and issue the cards, an official told the newspaper.A pilot project was undertaken between 2004 and 2009 mainly in border areas like Jammu’s Hira Nagar, Kutch in Gujarat, Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh, Pithoragarh in Uttrakhand and Murshidabad in West Bengal. The report stated that as many as 1.3 million people have been issued identity cards.