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  #1  
Old August 14, 2008, 10:09 AM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Default Bangladesh wins Gold!

Come on guys! Why every time you think of a medal of Olympic? Before you jump on me, please read whole article carefully, and then you might see why I value this 'piece of work' as 'Gold', especially in a developing country like Bangladesh. Upgraded and integrated system based on this 'giant database' would solve numerous problem of our society in coming days. I leave this 'bright fortune' on your imagination.


Quote:
Strategically Speaking
Preparation of voter list and NID card: A notable feat

Brig Gen Shahedul Anam Khan ndc, psc (Retd)


THERE were more doubting Thomases than those who believed that the EC would be able to meet the deadline for the preparation of a final voter list with photographs. Not everyone realises what a tremendous achievement it has been, given that we have also got our national identification (NID) card, for all those that were involved in the process, right from its conceptualisation 'till its completion. No one should grudge the EC for organising a celebratory function marking the end of the project, although it would have served the cause of politics and democracy better had the EC also included the leaders of the major political parties in its guest list.

However, some confusion regarding the matter still remains as was evident when voters turned up at the recent elections with their NID card. In fact, the EC project was entitled, "Preparation of Electoral Roll with Photographs and Facilitating the Issuance of National Identity (ID) Card." There is nothing as a voter ID card, and that the NID card has nothing to do with the voter list, and was only a spin-off of the process of voter registration. It is just as well that the government considered going for NID simultaneously, since the modalities involved for the preparation of both are the same, up to a stage, like basic data collection and cross checking.

There were many quarters including NGOs who had argued against going for NID since some of them were driven by the presumption that it would not be possible to complete the NID project in 18 months, and that might put the voter list project, and consequently the national election, at risk.

Putting off the NID card project for a later time would have cost much more, particularly in terms of money, than what has been spent now for both the voter list with photographs and NID. And my guess is that had the project been conducted by a foreign vendor the cost would have perhaps been many times more than what has been actually spent, not to speak of the inevitable time overrun. The EC as the sponsor and coordinating agency, and the Bangladesh armed forces should receive our ungrudging accolade for having accomplished a challenging assignment within the stipulated time and cost. In fact, the UN is thinking of replicating the model in other developing countries.

But there were some genuine apprehensions on the minds of many, and it is not that the operational agency, Bangladesh army, was not aware of it. Let me relate some of the comments regarding the project, expressed in early 2007, which were fairly representative of the common concerns about the EC project.

The first problem that many saw was that of data gathering and data organising as there was no national database in place. Many questioned the relevance of the card to a large number of the people who were illiterate and living under poverty line. It was feared that with the current state of the copyright law, the security of ID cards might be jeopardised, with possibility of replication of the ID cards, apart from the other issues of maintenance and replacement of lost "voters ID" card. Obviously, most of the concerns stemmed from the misperception about the NID being the same as a voter ID card, which is not the case. And happily, the system evolved to prepare the two documents provides foolproof guarantees against abuse and replication.

Of course, data collection involved the greater part of the project time, including time spent on preparing a comprehensive initial registration form. The sheer magnitude of the undertaking cannot be easily comprehended unless one goes into the details of what the mechanism had involved, including the intricate logistical process of putting the essential ingredients together -- which was an entirely separate operation by itself. Just for the record, when all the data is collected and handed over to the newly formed NIRA (National Information and Registration Agency) this would be the largest biometric database in the world.

Given the fairly complex actions involved in the process of registering a voter and the fact that there were more than a quarter million computer operators trained for only two weeks before being employed, mistakes are only normal. But one agrees that zero tolerance for mistakes would be the ideal situation. It goes to the credit of all concerned that a survey by a development partner during the recent elections certified the degree of accuracy of the voter list as that in any other developed country, and that no eligible voter has been left out due to procedural flaw.

The performance appears even more significant when one considers that a foreign vendor had quoted around Tk.1000 crore just for printing the NID only. Two facts will help put the matter in perspective.

One will recall that in 1997 a somewhat similar venture was undertaken by the then government. The plan was to prepare voter ID cards only, within a time frame of 2-3 years. The scheme came to naught primarily because of the basic flaws in the operational mechanism of the plan. While there were as many as 37 vendors the data collection procedure was not only flawed, each of the vendors applied its own mechanism of data collection.

There was mismatch between pictures and names and most people did not care to turn up to the designated centers for registration. There were both "good" and "bad" vendors. While the good ones failed because of poor planning, the bad ones undertook dubious shortcuts with inevitable results. At the end of the day, Tk.115 crore was spent without a single paisa worth of output.

In 2005, an integrated project for only MRP and NID would have put us back by Tk 1400 crore -- and that too without voter list with pictures, and the project was expected to be completed in 5 years from the time of commission. The econometrics of the foreign vendors raise the question whether they apply altogether different criteria in their planning or deliberately inflate cost and time thinking that we would not be able to carry out the project ourselves and would have to eventually fall back on them. This is a classic example of being taken for a ride, thankfully the authorities concerned refused to go along.

The humongous task was accomplished by the armed forces led by the Bangladesh army in less than a year and with only less than one-third the cost quoted by others. One must admit that only an institution supremely confident of its capabilities could have agreed to shoulder such an onerous task.

Now that the biggest hurdle to a free and fair election has been overcome, all that we are waiting for is a peaceful and participatory Sangshad election and handover of the reins of the government to the elected representatives.

The author is Editor, Defence & Strategic Affairs, The Daily Star.
Daily Star
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  #2  
Old August 14, 2008, 10:16 AM
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Tigers_eye Tigers_eye is online now
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How are they going to incorporate address changes, wrong info on the cards, redrawing of district/precinct lines, fraud detections, verifying citizenship/eligibility, printing and delivering ballots on time, counting ballots etc.? I haven't even mentioned about the candidates and their issues yet.

There are several stages after the gold.
Zafran stage.
Platinum stage.
Muslin stage ( I don't think even US has come to this stage yet).
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  #3  
Old August 14, 2008, 10:32 AM
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PoorFan bhai...bokader pete lathi maren ken bhai? I'm sure some jumped out of excitement seeing the thread title.

Anyway, the news is good. Although, Mijan bhai can't stop expecting for more. Paite paite bechara greedy hoye gese.
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  #4  
Old August 14, 2008, 12:35 PM
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sorry . Poorfan being a senior member i guess it is pretty ordinary joke.(thread title)
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  #5  
Old August 14, 2008, 06:56 PM
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Rifat Rifat is offline
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well, if anyone else opens a thread titled "Bangladesh wins Bronze" while people might start thinking it is yet another joke...but it's probably gonna come
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  #6  
Old August 15, 2008, 03:37 AM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigers_eye
How are they going to incorporate address changes, wrong info on the cards, redrawing of district/precinct lines, fraud detections, verifying citizenship/eligibility, printing and delivering ballots on time, counting ballots etc.? I haven't even mentioned about the candidates and their issues yet.

There are several stages after the gold.
Zafran stage.
Platinum stage.
Muslin stage ( I don't think even US has come to this stage yet).
I don't know for fact, but assume they must have search and update utilities in the system, along with data entry utility. This time they have collected digital image of each voter, and saved along with other information as database, providing only a voter ID number to the voter. That obviously suggest their system has search ability of entire information of a voter from a minimum key information ( that is the voter ID number ). Though the concern remain whether people has enough access or places where they can go and ask for information change, within a considerable time period.

Redrawing of district/precinct lines is an issue any system have to live with. Since we have original database in the system, changing those data, reprint ballot paper would be even more error proof and faster using programs. Fraud detection, verifying citizenship/eligibility etc., could be done much more easy and fast with time to time system upgrade, integration, on-line network only if we have basic database in place, and this time we already done that daunting job.

Lets move to next stage Zafran, Platinum, and then dare to target even Muslin, after all once we were the best of it.
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  #7  
Old August 15, 2008, 03:45 AM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabir
Anyway, the news is good. Although, Mijan bhai can't stop expecting for more. Paite paite bechara greedy hoye gese.
Disease of 'Fat Rich' people ... more they get more they want. ... but always good in a sense.
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  #8  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:03 AM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny747
sorry . Poorfan being a senior member i guess it is pretty ordinary joke.(thread title)
Oops! perhaps you are missing Fazal too much ( these days ) as I do, and sorry being ordinary on that regard.

My intention was to let people read and know the depth this achievement. I heard India also have been planning / trying to achieve this goal since 8 to 10 years ago. Given the number of population, vast area, various community and language etc., making the job even more difficult for them. We are lucky to have the job done so fast and low cost under this government.
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  #9  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:09 AM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifat
well, if anyone else opens a thread titled "Bangladesh wins Bronze" while people might start thinking it is yet another joke...but it's probably gonna come
No way bro. Those couple of boys and girls who attended as players, are now busy finding seat in the gallary.
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  #10  
Old August 15, 2008, 04:11 AM
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sunny747 sunny747 is offline
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ya i know..this is great. One of my friend just received his card. Well, it is not a magnetic card like credit card..just some info and laminated. It has barcode at the back side but i heard it is for future use.
But what a wonderful job. Really good to have my own identity from bd.

(Above information is "shonakotha", didn't witness the card myself yet)
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  #11  
Old August 15, 2008, 07:56 AM
Tehsin Tehsin is offline
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Why do you say that ? Don't underestimate our krirabid's ability to blend in with the general public and enjoy an extended vacation. Who has time to warm those sits when you gotta start looking for the oppportunities, be it China or the US? No wonder you are a poorfan, always hoping for the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorFan
No way bro. Those couple of boys and girls who attended as players, are now busy finding seat in the gallary.
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  #12  
Old August 15, 2008, 07:58 AM
Tehsin Tehsin is offline
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How do we get it from here (US)? Political situation jemon, ekhane vote deya r deshe vote deya same. Bunch of crooks and thugs. Atleast deshe ora shobaike janiye shuniye korey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny747
ya i know..this is great. One of my friend just received his card. Well, it is not a magnetic card like credit card..just some info and laminated. It has barcode at the back side but i heard it is for future use.
But what a wonderful job. Really good to have my own identity from bd.

(Above information is "shonakotha", didn't witness the card myself yet)
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  #13  
Old August 31, 2008, 08:50 PM
imtiaz82 imtiaz82 is offline
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If Afghanistan can win a medal in olympcs inspite decades of civil war and little to no infrastructure why can't Bangladesh?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7587692.stm

I know that we don't have the best of facilities but neither do they. Infact recently Bangladesh footbal team had a hard time beating Afghanistan in SAARC cup, so its not just one exceptional Afhgani player doing well in Olympics.. they are even doing better in footaball without getting paid like our Abhani, Mohammdan players.

Maybe in few days they will start beating us in cricket aswell..
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  #14  
Old September 1, 2008, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imtiaz82
Maybe in few days they will start beating us in cricket aswell..
I wouldnt be surprised.
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  #15  
Old September 2, 2008, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorFan
I don't know for fact, but assume they must have search and update utilities in the system, along with data entry utility. This time they have collected digital image of each voter, and saved along with other information as database, providing only a voter ID number to the voter. That obviously suggest their system has search ability of entire information of a voter from a minimum key information ( that is the voter ID number ). Though the concern remain whether people has enough access or places where they can go and ask for information change, within a considerable time period.

Redrawing of district/precinct lines is an issue any system have to live with. Since we have original database in the system, changing those data, reprint ballot paper would be even more error proof and faster using programs. Fraud detection, verifying citizenship/eligibility etc., could be done much more easy and fast with time to time system upgrade, integration, on-line network only if we have basic database in place, and this time we already done that daunting job.

Lets move to next stage Zafran, Platinum, and then dare to target even Muslin, after all once we were the best of it.
Sir,
Somehow I missed your response.

Creating a database and identity cards are only the gold standard. Maintaining database would zafran standard. Incorporating Mapping and plotting in the software would be Platinum standard (redistricting).

Working together Army (database software owner), Voter Registration (database input people - maintenance of records), Election Commission (in-charge of polls, ballots, delivery, counting ballots and announcing results), awareness of voters (mass people) would create Muslin Standard. A true representation of people.
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  #16  
Old September 2, 2008, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigers_eye
...... would create Muslin Standard. A true representation of people.
And when Muslin standard will be produced, British colonialists will end the muslin production by having the Muslin weavers' thumbs cut off.
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  #17  
Old September 3, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Bangladeshi girls always win Gold (from us)! (Married ones know the best)
And if they are too demanding they get it every year don't have to wait for the Olympics to come.
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