KARACHI         -   Sindh is going to become Pakistan’s first province that will issue computerised smart cards for the proper registration of labourers and their respective family members in a transparent manner in order to offer them different facilities, including health coverage.

The Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (Sessi) signed an agreement with the National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra) in a ceremony for the issuance of the Benazir Mazdoor Card.

Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that the smart cards to be issued by Sessi would replace the present manual cards being used for the registration of labourers.

Ghani said he was not aware of any other country in the world that had a system of issuing such smart cards for the registration of labourers and workers.

He said that in the first phase some 625,000 labourers across the province who were already registered with Sessi and had the conventional registration cards would be issued these smart cards. The first such card would be issued on January 1, 2021, he added.

He also said that in the following phases up to five million labourers across the province would be issued these cards, adding that the registration system would also cover labourers who were self-employed, but not workers at factories or other commercial institutions.

The minister said that collaboration with NADRA was necessary for the purpose because the citizens registration authority possessed completed and accurated details of labourers and their respective family members.

He said that a new law would be introduced to establish an umbrella organisation to merge different institutions, like Sessi and the Workers Welfare Board, which were running in Sindh for the welfare of labourers so that corruption and lack of transparency in such organisations could be weeded out.

He also said that in the election manifesto of the Pakistan Peoples Party for the 2008 general elections, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had promised the issuance of such cards. NADRA Chairman Usman Yousaf Mobin said on the occasion that the smart cards would make the process of registering Sindh’s labourers error-free and transparent through the use of computers, adding that this system would prove to be a milestone in the provision of the labourers’ due rights.