Nepalese government officials have announced that biometrics will not be collected anew from passport applicants whose personal data is already in the national identity card and civil registration database.
Authorities plan to issue passports using the same biometric hardware and software installations already deployed by the national identity card and civil status registration and vital statistics systems.
This new plan will mark a shift from the current system in which those applying for passports are expected to still submit their biometrics, even if they did so while registering for a national ID which is a prerequisite for passport application. The country reached a deal with Idemia last year to supply 2.8 million biometric passports.
The idea of a single biometric database was discussed in a recent meeting with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and four other ministers. They were the ministers of Defence, Home affairs, Physical infrastructure and Foreign, according to myRepublica.
The outlet quotes the Foreign Ministry’s press officer as explaining that the move by the Department of Passports (DoP) to use a unified databased for biometric passports will streamline the issuance of the travel credential.
In the past, there have concerns in some countries including India and Nigeria over the duplication of biometric data capture for different purposes.
In Nigeria, there were concerns at the end of last year that a separate data repository was to be created for a student loans scheme, even when officials have been talking about the need for data harmonization and a single government biometric database in the country.
The collection of biometrics from people registering their marriages in an Indian state has also sparked criticism as the move is considered superfluous given that almost all Indian adults have their biometrics already captured and in use for the Aadhaar digital ID program.