Why should a government officer testify our documents?

Today I took my 82 year old mother to get her Computerized National ID Card (CNIC) renewed. The previous ID card had expired and was technically invalid. The last one had been issued a decade ago. I believe ID cards being issued to those above 70 years of age need not be renewed. Unfortunately that rule was made before she got her last ID card. Outside the NADRA office in F8, there were long queues to get tokens for the ‘normal’ and ‘fast track channels.’ Inside a lot of people were waiting in different states of resignation, to be photographed, fingerprinted and for having their personal data entered. The staff was as polite as one can possibly be, while handling so many people, waiting for their turns. Among the waiting crowd there people of all ages – ranging from infants in their mother’s laps to octogenarians like my mother. I spied one bent old woman, who appeared to be in her nineties. Her attendant assured her that this time her card would be ‘ta hayat’ (lifelong). At long last my mother’s token number was called and we started with the photograph. There was some problem as the bio metrics machine found it difficult to read my mother’s fingerprints. As we waited for the data entry, the power went out. The generator kicked in but twenty minutes later it ran out of fuel.  There was nothing to do but wait. 40 minutes later the power restored and business slowly resumed. At long last the data about my mother was rechecked and a printout issued. As I triumphantly got hold of the precious paper I was informed that I had to get the form attested by a government officer and deposit it again in the office and then wait for the card to be made – 7 days for fast track and 30 days standard time.

Why on earth would a government officer need to verify data about a woman, who had already been registered with NADRA? Why is there any need for any government officer to attest anything? Mr Modi, the Indian prime minister has already done away with this archaic and antiquated requirement. There is nothing revolutionary in taking such a minor step. I strongly feel that having a CNIC renewed should be done online. It can save NADRA, the government officers and most of all the common man a lot of bother.


One Comment on “Why should a government officer testify our documents?”

  1. Ameed says:

    A year ago, i experienced much the same, when applying renewal of my 5 year old son’s passport. We waited unnecessarily in biometric queue, only to be moved to the next step queue. Much the same happened there as well i.e, no change in personal information. We had already spent 3 hours in the “swift registration center” by then. And then the worst happened, link to headoffice went down …. another 2-3 hours wasted in that.

    I noticed few direly needed improvements to this whole process. As a matter of fact, NADRA issues a unique token to every applicant, irrespective of the service deemed. This token makes it possible to inquire case status via phone or web. The process can be significantly improved with the help of this token and some internet driven services. I suggest, a process as below, (at least for renewals):

    1. Applicant visits service window, presents the photo-id and related document
    2. Service worker registers applicant’s purpose of visit, and issues unique token (this system is already in place)
    3. Service worker guides applicant on how to continue to next steps based on either assisted service at NADRA center (as of today) or in a self-service mode using internet (at home). This requires a secure website where applicant signs in using token and identity details.
    4. Applicant logs in website which guides through the process of completing required information. This process also marks when a visit at NADRA center is required to to complete the process e.g, biometric data collection, retina scan.
    5. After completing all details, system shows a summary of exact actions applicant needs to take in order to submit the application.
    6. System shows approachable NADRA centers (on a map) where applicant can visit to complete and submit application (paperless).
    7. System allows applicant to create appointment for visiting a specific NADRA center and creates appointment against applicant’s unique token.
    6. Having created appointment, applicant visits NADRA center where a case officer reviews the application and facilities completing the missing steps (where needed). After completing anomalies, case worker finally submits the application.

    This could be bare minimum process to allow actual swiftness. As i see today, we have technology and we have come a long way implementing central database of citizens on top which integrated services can be provided. Any IT solution implementation requires a big deal of processes change implementation in order to make best use of it.

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