Press Release:This is a vital cornerstone for Bhutan as we embark on a journey to effectively use technology to transform the way that the RGoB delivers services while transforming the lives of our citizens. One of the key requirements for delivering services is the need to verify the identity of applicants. Since we are unable to do this securely, some vital services like opening bank accounts, selling land, and similar important services, still require face to face interactions.
To digitally transform such services requires the secure and efficient verification of the applicant’s identity. This is currently not possible online, but what we are initiating today will help set up the foundational data required to enable this. The biometric data collected through this project will strengthen the root of trust Identity database and enhance it to be used for remote on boarding of “Digital Identities”. This will set the foundations to enable the transformation of those vital services into easy to use, but at the same time, trustworthy online services.
Unlike face to face delivery of services, in online services, the service provider and the consumer cannot see each other thus making providing online services extremely challenging as the identity of the applicant cannot be ascertained. The biometric data captured through this initiative will enable us to link our identities to our digital avatar thus enabling us to securely authenticate the applicants identity which will open up vast opportunities in how the government can easily provision services for citizens.
It has thus become critical for us to leverage technology for optimizing government functions and providing effective online services for our citizens as envisioned by His Majesty and Digital Identity will play a key role in enabling this transformation.
The followings are the key activities undertaken and expected to be taken up hereafter:
- The Biometric Data collection was initiated in collaboration with the Department of IT & Telecom, Department of Civil Registration & Census, Department of Immigration and De-Suung Office for the National Digital Identity.
- The total number of citizens’ biometrics data collected as of 14th September 2021 is 25,333 during the pilot project and the extended pilot starting from 6th April, 2021.
- The program would begin from the urban centers so as to ensure that the biometric collection program does not clash with the upcoming Local Government Election.
- 130 De-Suups are deployed for this project, where teams of 9 to 12 De-Suups will be deployed to each Dzongkhag. They will be supported by the Dzongkhag Civil Registration & Census officers who will be the Dzongkhag co-ordinator for their respective Dzongkhags.
- The nationwide rollout is scheduled to start simultaneously in 11 Dzongkhags namely Bumthang, Chukha, Gasa, Haa, Mongar, Pemagatshel, Punakha, Thimphu, Trashigang, Wangdue Phodrang and Zhemgang with the launching of the program coinciding with the 10th Anniversary of Their Majesty’s Wedding.