'Resident Identity Cards' for coastal population to check maritime infiltration

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There are three gateways for our enemies to launch attack on us; land, air and water, the 2008 Mumbai terrorist exploited the latest one - the water.

Air is too demanding medium for non-state actors (terrorist) to use while the traditional land-route is heavily guarded - only leaving the maritime opening as an attractive option.

The present government is doing its bid to close some of the loopholes it offers and one of them is 'smart identity checks' to prevent potential infiltration. 

Points to Ponder

  • India is 20th largest country in terms of coastline length (7000 km) in the world and has 9 states and 4 Union Territories bordering sea.
  • Over 65 lakh people living in the coastal areas have been issued Resident Identity Card (RIC) by the government so far.
  • These cards are scanned by special 'Resident Identity Card (RIC) Readers' provided to the maritime security agencies.
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself handed two of them to Navy Chief RK Dhowan and Coast Guard head AG Thapliyal.
  • The project - known as RIC Scheme - come under the National Population Registrar.

Key Facts of RIC scheme

  • RIC cards are being issued by the office of the 'Registrar General and Census Commissioner' - under the aegis of central home ministry.
  • A total of 3331 coastal villages falls under this project and all their residents will get this identity.
  • The cards - manufactured indigenously - will be used to authenticate an individual's demographic and biometric data.

About the RIC reader

  • It work on the principle of key management system and does not require internet services.
  • All the RIC cards come with a 'key', which has to be presented to the Reader for verified identification. 
  • This identity scanner is temper-proof as it self-destructs in case of any improper handling.
  • Navy and Coast Guard will be the first to employ these scanners. 
  • Later it will be given to Maritime Police stations and state governments.
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