India to test electronic ID cards - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

India to test electronic ID cards

INDIA (WKOW) -- Everyone knows the headache of waiting on line at the DMV to get a new driver's license. Now imagine repeating that process 1.2 billion times. Thanks to a new ID program, that's exactly what the government of India will soon experience.

The Indian government has just announced a plan to furnish every member of the country's immense citizenry with state-of-the-art biometric identification cards. The cards will carry retina and fingerprint data and credit and criminal histories, and will be linked to a central online database.

The national ID program hopes to clear up current bureaucratic tangles common in India, where citizens might be issued almost 20 different forms of identification. Adding to the confusion, many of those IDs don't work in different parts of the country.

The Indian government plans on issuing the first of the IDs within 18 months, and they have only given Nilekani around $5 billion to complete the project.

The lessons learned might have applications in the United States, where universal health care proponents believe an electronic medical history card could be useful for streamlining the system and saving money.

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