The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The family tree is now rooted in a swipe card

New Delhi, Sept. 22: Your family tree and a host of other personal details just at the swipe of a smart card—sounds too good to be true'

Well, the churches have already gone ahead and done it. Earlier, churches used to give hand-written certificates for the seven sacraments that most families found difficult to maintain. Now, with the smart card, all details of their families are saved on a card. The card contains details of the entire family. “Everything from blood groups, job, education and even allergies can be recorded,” said a senior executive of Gemplus India Pvt Ltd.

Plastic smart cards, like mobiles, are all set to change the way we communicate and transact business with government offices. A smart card-operated vendor machine project at Indian Oil Corporation offers hot ‘vadas,’ ‘idlis’ and ‘samosas’ that can be picked up from the machine by inserting a smart card.

In Goa, the social security system has been fully integrated on a smart card. In Gujarat, the driving licence and the vehicle registration have been embedded on a single chip. In Mumbai from next month, the pizza delivery boy will now carry a palm top that will be used to take payments from a smart card. No need to pay cash to the taxi or auto driver, pay through the smart-card enabled system fitted on the vehicle.

According to one estimate, India accounts for only 12 million of the 1.7 billion smart cards issued around the world. However, industry observers feel that about 50 million cards can be added each year.

A Smart Card Forum of India (SCAFI) was set up in September 1999. Its members include not only smart card and terminal manufacturers, system integrators but also user groups such as banks, transportation, IT industry and others. Currently, it has 150 members.

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