Bangalore: The ongoing migration of Indian citizens from paper cards to smart cards is throwing up a multibillion dollar business opportunity for domestic technology players.
The citizen ID card program proposed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will be supported by a vast eco-system, comprising data collectors or managers, delivery channels, chip designers, smart card manufacturers, application and software providers, system integrators, networking analysts and print companies. The entire ID card project in India is estimated to be around 10,000 crore, with the first phase covering ultra-urban, urban, and semi-urban population offering 6,500 crore business opportunities.
IT companies like TCS and Infosys have confirmed that they would actively bid for the project. "The entire process including the bidding process, deal negotiations and business evaluation, are expected to be transparent. There will not be any conflict of interest for us and therefore, we will participate in the bid,'' said a Senior Official at Infosys Technologies.
TCS has already been working with the government on projects like e-passport, Gujarat police and the Defence Ministry. "Since it is going to be an open bidding process, we will be bidding for it,'' said a Senior Official at TCS.
Around 27 large e-governance projects worth 40,000 crore are currently in the pipeline. Having been badly hit by the economic recession, many technology leaders have been urging the government to accelerate these projects to induce economic buoyancy. The UIDAI comes as a quick response to the industry's call.
Som Mittal, the President of IT industry body Nasscom, told Times of India, "This is a transformational project for the country as it will overlay many underlying projects, creating huge efficiencies for the country leading to enhanced governance and reduced costs."
The global shipment of smart card surpassed an estimated five billion units in 2008 and this figure is projected to surge at CAGR of nearly 11 percent through 2012, according to "Smart Card Market Forecast to 2012", a recent market research report.