In all participatory democracies, government, businesses and services rely more on the trust of the business partners and citizens. This motivates credible and transparent transactions of services that need to be legally sound and rich in value.
In a knowledge society, the trust levels are to be continuously scaled up as e-Governance changes the collective mindset towards citizen-centered service provisions and institutional re-engineering.
The current issue of the magazine has RFID and smart card as solution focus and passports as application focus. No doubt, technology infusion has changed the face of vital public utilities like passport offices from the rudimentary stages and many of the tech solutions we have identified here can bring further changes in these systems.The element of trust which I was referring to earlier is the very essence of that mature attitude that treats citizens as adults and not as infants when it comes to service delivery. This aspect is reinforced in most of the articles that discuss this theme.
So all public offices embracing e-Governance need to reassert their credentials in shoring up and ensuring the trust levels with the citizens. This is more true of passport offices where technology applications are enhancing the quality and quantity of service delivery. In India pervasive applications in RFID is going to be the order of the day, in the coming years. Topping the chart will be e-Passports or bio-mteric passports. Bio-metric passports will be the answer to the gross abuse of paper passports. The recent incidents involving some MPs who allegedly misused their passports to indulge in human trafficking have further strengthened India’s case for going all out for it. Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) flyway, which uses RFID technology to help pay tolls, is the tell-tale example of its success.
Incidentally, the first smart card making plant in the country has been set up in Hyderabad by Bartronics India and is upstream now. This Indian company is noted for its turnkey execution of bar-coding, RFID and biometric technologies and draws bulk of its revenues from the RFID solutions space. In fact, Frost & Sullivan has identified that the emerging demand for smart cards in India as somewhere in the region of 150 million units this year and set to grow 40% per annum. The telecom and banking sectors are to throw up the maximum demand.
The banking sector is going in for aggressive switch from the current magnetic tape cards as the Visa/Mastercard deadline is set to expire in a few years from now. The multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC) mooted by the Centre is also in the pipeline. Thus it goes without saying that the situation is very conducive for smart card and RFID technology- providers to flourish.