Strengthening Infrastructure Knowledge and Capacity in Nepal’s National Identification System
The Government of Nepal needed to address the organizational effectiveness of its National Identification Management Center (NIDMC), specifically with focus on operational efficiency, effective communications, stakeholder relations, and results. Pakistan had implemented a similar program with success. Through the exchange, Nepal set out to learn about Pakistan’s experience in its good practice approach to implementing, processing, establishing rules of action, and enhancing staff capacity toward a successful NID program.
The Government of Nepal has invested time and resources in establishing an NID infrastructure to provide each citizen with a unique identifier card for purposes of authentication and enabling access various public services. The new NID program is based on biometric data unlike its predecessor, the citizen card (Nagrita) program. The NID infrastructure enables establishment of a trusted, secure, accurate, and reliable identification system, which improves access to public services with efficiency and transparency.
The Nepalese Government also invested about US$117 million to establish the infrastructure in Kathmandu, to train registration officers in all districts, and to populate the initial NID database. But the Nepalese still needed and wanted to learn from a good practice example in the region to better understand how a NID program can enable various line agencies to better use the data for targeting services based on citizen needs. The knowledge exchange with Pakistan coincided with commitment from the key stakeholders to move forward with the NID implementation.
The Nepalese Ministry of Finance, following multi-stakeholder consultations, requested the World Bank to support the NID program. In October 2012 the Nepalese Government also sought support from the Bank specifically for a knowledge exchange with Pakistan. The World Bank responded positively to both requests. The exchange was timely. Pakistan was able to share with Nepal its experience with the Citizen National Identification Card that it uses to support efficient and transparent service delivery in cash transfers in banking; programs in education; issuance of official documents like passports, licenses, tax identifier, and employment ID for migrant workers; and other comparable citizen needs. Nepal learned specifically from the experience of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to better plan and manage its own NID program. The exchange offered an opportunity for Nepal to seek and receive information on its core interests in institutional structure and processes, technology management, management of large-scale identification programs (including enrolment programs), and utilization of biometric NID infrastructure for public service delivery.
A week-long study tour in Pakistan was organized in early 2013. A team of 16 from Nepal comprised management, technical, and operations personnel from the NID Card Management Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, National Information Technology Center, Ministry of Finance, National Planning Commission, and Ministry of Local Development. The study tour included field visits to NADRA headquarters in Islamabad and the Punjab IT Board in Lahore. In Lahore, the Nepalese delegation was able to see the NID program used for service delivery at both the federal and province levels. The delegation visited enrolment centers and the main technology hub in Islamabad and participated in interactive sessions that focused on institutional, service, technology, and business aspects of the NID program.
Officials from participating agencies learned about the benefits and impact of Pakistan’s successful NID Project in designing and implementing their programs. They saw firsthand and better understood the private sector use of identification, and the linkages between NID and other governance, social protection, Government-to-Citizen, and Government-to-Business programs. The participants realized that the NID system is vital to the creation of a number of jobs all over the nation, to overcome demerits of existing tax payment systems, and provide assistance to national security and immigration agencies.
The Nepalese delegation indicated that they expected to specifically adopt the following two practices for which they gained awareness during the exchange and study tour in Pakistan:
- Enhance the autonomy of the institutional structure of the NID Card Management Centre, and
- Ensure retention of technical capacity at the NID Card Management Centre.
- Timing of the knowledge exchange is extremely important since it can impact the design of downstream projects and policies as was the case in this exchange.
- It is important to choose the right knowledge partners. Political, geographical, socio-economic context of the two countries need to be similar, so that there is a better understanding of the context in relation to knowledge sharing. This was the case in this Knowledge Exchange and proved to be a big contributor of its success.
- It is also important to develop a set of learning goals and share this expectation with the knowledge provider. This enables a more effective knowledge-sharing program.
This exchange is related to the proposed Nepal NID project that as of April 2015 was under preparation. The World Bank will ensure that adequate resources are made available under the proposed project to continue capacity building for Nepal. The Nepalese officers have been in touch with NADRA even after their visit.
The World Bank team (including team assistants in the Kathmandu and Islamabad offices) were responsible for all logistics. Given the uncertainty of events in Pakistan (elections and continuing sectarian violence) at the time, the Bank team was able to overcome successfully the logistic challenges. The Pakistan and Nepal CMU were extremely supportive in both approving the knowledge exchange and providing encouragement and support in the implementation. The CMU approved the participation of two senior Nepal country office staff in the program.
- National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in Pakistan (Knowledge Provider)
- National Identity Card Management Centre (NIDMC), Nepal
- Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), Nepal
- National Information Technology Center (NITC), Nepal
- Ministry of Finance, Nepal
- National Planning Commission, Nepal
- Ministry of Local Development, Nepal.
An official of the NIDMC remarked, "The study tour was most fruitful in learning about the major components, Personalization Center, Data Center, Biometric Verification System and Business processes to connect and deliver NID-related eServices to other departments of [the] NID System.”
- NADRA - https://www.nadra.gov.pk/
- The following blog post written by the senior communications specialist of the World Bank's Nepal office summarizes the visit - http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/national-identity-cards-adding-value-development