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Ministry proposes electronic passports in Russia

September 05, 2012, 17:49 UTC+3
The new passport will be like the universal electronic card
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MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — The Ministry of Communications and the Federal Migration Service are working on electronic internal passports for Russian citizens.

“We think that technologically we will come to a situation where the country will give up paper passports. It will be a modern ID, a plastic one, with a photograph and certain personal data,” Minister of Mass Communications Nikolai Nikiforov said on Wednesday, September 5.

The new passport will contain an electronic chip “which can be used for obtaining electronic public services as a substitute for a large number of other documents such as a driver’s license, a health insurance policy and a pensioner’s certificate”, he added.

Nikiforov believes that the new passport will be like the universal electronic card, which in his opinion, should be issued nationwide by the Federal Migration Service.

The minister is convinced that this should “solve the problem of universal electronic cards at the regional level” since not all regions have enough funding to finance the project.

The electronic card system is intended for providing a wide range of services to the population in electronic form across the country, including public and municipal services, such as social welfare, transport, health care, financial and commercial ones. The universal electronic card is a tool for confirming its holder's right to receive such services and can be used for remote transactions as provided for in Russian laws.

Sberbank, Uralsib, Ak Bars, Center Invest, Bank St. Petersburg, Avtovazbank, Moscow Industrial Bank, and Surgutneftegazbank have already joined the project. Some 60 lending institutions will join the universal electronic card system in Russia by the end of 2012.

The system will provide different electronic services to the population, including social, transportation, medical, financial and commercial ones.

The universal electronic card will become a unified federal standard and will replace all social cards that have been issued in regions up to date and other documents such as mandatory medical and pension insurance cards, student's IDs, travel passes, and bank cards. New universal electronic cards will be issued to all Russian citizens over 154 years of age.

The first universal electronic cards were to be issued in four or probably six Russian regions in August.

At the initial stage, 10,000 cards will be issued in Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Komi, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan, and Krasnodar. Moscow, where the authorities plan to start issuing the card in 2013, is not on the list.

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