BBS plans to collect, store personal records of all citizens

Candidates for the Fire Service and Civil Defence jobs stand shoulder to shoulder as they wait to enter Habibullah Bahar University College in Dhaka on Friday for recruitment tests amid the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) is planning to create a comprehensive database containing a wide range of information, including demographic and biometric records, on citizens of all ages in the country.

A unique identification number will be assigned to each citizen under which their personal data will be stored, according to the agency’s national population registrar.

The database will allow the government to maintain a centralised trove of data, including demographic statistics, travel history, religion, caste, birth, death, marriage and divorce records of citizens.

The initiative was outlined by the authorities at a workshop attended by Planning Minister MA Mannan and State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam on Sunday.

Although such databases are available in developed countries, Mannan said it is the first time that such an initiative has been taken in Bangladesh.

Explaining why the Bureau of Statistics took up the project despite already having a national identity card database, he said: “The country currently has a wealth of information on citizens. But there is no information for all age groups in the country. In the proposed project, this database will be created with the information of all citizens."

"However, we need to keep in mind that the proposed project should be a coordinated effort without any overlaps in the data collection process as that would be a waste of time, energy and state money."