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BRIEF November 23, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions (Q&As): Identification System for Enhanced Access to Services (IDEA) project

Question: Has the World Bank stopped funding the IDEA project?

The World Bank continues to support the Identification System for Enhanced Access to Services (IDEA) project to complete remaining activities up until the project closes on December 31, 2017.

Through the IDEA project, the World Bank has helped Bangladesh establish a secure, accurate, and reliable national ID system for more efficient, inclusive and transparent service delivery.

Question: Will the World Bank extend the IDEA Project to complete the production and distribution of the remaining smart national identity (NID) cards?

The World Bank has already extended the IDEA project for an 18-month period, which ends on December 31, 2017. The World Bank will continue to support project activities, including delivery of smart NID cards, undertaken before the project closes on December 31, 2017.

Question:  If the NID card distribution is not completed, will it impact the voter rolls in the upcoming national general election? 

The distribution of smart NID cards will not in any way impact Bangladesh Election Commission’s preparation for the upcoming parliamentary election.

Smart NID cards are not a requirement for voting in Bangladesh; the smart cards contribute to enhance citizens’ access to secure, reliable means of identification to conduct private transactions and access public services. A citizen’s NID number is different from their voter number. Neither the NID number nor the card have any relationship with the election process.

Similarly, the IDEA Project’s other activities do not have any bearing on the election process.

Question: Will the contract with the smart card contract provider, Oberthur Technologies, be renewed?

The World Bank can only consider the renewal of contracts with firms, if the government requests a renewal, following a proper selection process and rationale.

The Bangladesh Election Commission has informed the World Bank about its decision to not extend the contract with the vendor responsible for producing and distributing the smart NID cards.

Question: What are the components that the project is financing for smart card production and delivery, and what is the status of implementation?

To complete the production of the NID card contract, the Project has financed the following four sub systems:

Subsystem name

What does it include


Software system

Development of the card management system, packaging and transportation module, inventory management module, key management system, NID citizens’ portal, middleware and database for personalization system.

Fully Delivered

Personalization system

Installation of personalization machine with necessary software, card personalization system, application server, and database server.

Fully Delivered

Smart card and supply chain management system

Procurement of the NID card and chip, hologram, card pouch, and vault.

-          77.3 million blank cards delivered and 12.41 million cards personalized.

-          The remaining 12.7 million blank cards procured but not yet shipped from China.

-          Additional 8 personalization machines, lasers and consumables arrived on July 2017, which are now at the airport.

Substantially Delivered

Operational services system

Project management and operations, system integration, training, documentation, customization of the personalization system, and secured card delivery to Upazilla offices are ongoing.


Question: What has the IDEA Project achieved during the project period?  

The IDEA Project has helped Bangladesh establish a secure, accurate and reliable NID system that serves as the basis for more efficient and transparent service delivery in Bangladesh. The part that is lagging is the delivery of the full 90 million smart NID cards envisaged in the project.

  • Number of registrants: The number of registrants in the NID system has risen to 100 million today from approximately 80 million registrants in 2010.
  • Data privacy and security: The Project has helped the government finalize a robust legal framework to underpin citizens’ data privacy and data security. The Rules and Regulations of the NID Registration Act 2010 now include data privacy and data security clauses.
  • ID authentication service: As of today, 77 public and private organizations are using identity authentication services, which by far surpassed the project’s original target of four organizations.  Among others, the IDEA Project has been providing online identity authentication services for the employees’ and pensioners’ database of the Ministry of Finance, the mobile phone users’ database of all telecommunication providers, the Income Tax Payers’ database of the National Board of Revenue, and the e-Know-Your-Customer requirements of almost all banking and non-banking financial institutions in Bangladesh.