The Bangladesh Election Commission (BEC), a constitutional body, is responsible for registering all citizens eligible to vote and for conducting free, open and independent elections in the country according to the Constitution. But it faced serious difficulties in holding the 9th Parliamentary Election scheduled to be held on 22nd January 2007 due to lack of confidence on the Electoral Roll. Ultimately, situation led the election to be cancelled.
The country had gone under emergency and a new Caretaker Government was formed. The Election Commission was reformed and it was decided to prepare an electoral roll with photographs to ensure more accuracy and acceptability in order to hold a free, fair and credible election. A committee of Experts looked into the issue of preparing a photo voter list and recommended for it to be feasible.
The international development partners also appreciated the need for electoral reforms and expressed their willingness to assist in the preparation of an electoral roll with photographs. Thus, the project Preparation of an Electoral Roll with Photographs (PERP) came into being under the aegis of Bangladesh Election Commission incepted from July 2007 to continue until June 2010. The PERP was made responsible by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (GoB) for issuing a secure identity card to citizens and for administering all related activities, including the maintenance of a national citizen identification database and delivery of identity verification services to qualified public and private organizations.
After successful completion of the PERP project, the BEC has established the National Identity Wing (NIDW) to administer this broad national identity system (NIDS). This system is expected to be a strategic national resource to facilitate delivery of public and private services to their intended beneficiaries. Experience of the PERP project is the foundation of the NIDW.