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The Department of Panchayats will start assigning a GPS based permanent Unique Property Identification Number for all buildings in panchayat areas in Kerala, reports the Hindu. The initiative will start off with 941 panchayats initially, and will eventually include municipal and corporation areas later.

As of now, the LSG Department (local self-government) provides houses with a tag with the name of the local body, house number, ward number and validity. Apparently, there are around 1 crore buildings across the state that are already provided numbers by this department, although these numbers are liable to change every 5 years due to the increase in buildings.

According to Department, it has as yet received eight responses from vendors to take up the work for generating the numbers. These 10-digit numbers, which are expected to be available within a year on new tags, will eliminate the need for changing ID numbers, as well as provide a digital identity to the location. The tags will also contain information from the old system.

Interestingly, the Department mentions that these ID numbers can be used for identity verification even in online transactions like applications for passports, by matching it with the database available with the Information Kerala Mission. The tags containing these numbers will also be required to be non corrosive, termite resistant, fire proof and eco friendly.

Privacy concerns : It’s not clear how these numbers will work, and if anyone could check who lives in/owns the house. Clearly the numbers will have to be tied to a personal identity if it is to be used for ID verification, and we wonder if such information will be made publicly available. On the plus side, having such information publicly available makes it easier for say delivery guys to find your place. Note that the Kerala government is not new to privacy controversies; in June last year, it handed over Aadhaar information collected from the people of Kerala to a private company.

Information Kerala Mission: IKM is an autonomous institution under LSG Department that provides computerisation and networking services to local governments in Kerala. It provides a birth & death registration platform, marriage registration & efiling platform, a website for property tax and epayment and another for file tracking among others. It also offers ‘Samagra’, an mGovernance app for Android, that offers similar services.

Image source: Flickr user Chris Potter