The students of College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) have got an all-in-one smart card – one which will simultaneously operate as an identity as well as bank debit card. This unique combo card, designed and developed in partnership with the State Bank of India (SBI), was unveiled on Monday in the presence of B B Ahuja, director, CoEP and Sanjay Lal, General Manager, SBI.
In the first phase, as many as 1,200 combo cards will be distributed among both the graduate and undergraduate students of the college, said college officials.
“With the government pushing for digitisation and technology advancements, the objective was to inculcate this habit and introduce the students to cashless banking transaction”,” said Ahuja, who also went on to say that the facility, in the coming months, will be extended to all college faculty and staff members.
Along with the existing electronic chip used for banking purposes in the debit card, this combo card has another in-built chip which will have student details namely name, photograph, blood group and batch number, along with a unique identification number, stored.”
“Every time a student needs to enter a laboratory, a classroom, a library or even hostel, this card can be used and the attendance will be marked electronically. This will also come handy for students who use the round-the-clock facilities on the campus,” said Ahuja.
At present, the classroom attendance for all M.Tech students is recorded bio-metrically, using I-cards having an inbuilt Radio Frequency (RF) chip. For undergraduate students, attendance is marked manually. But it is set to change with the introduction of this combo card even at the undergraduate level.
SBI officials assured that they have taken all due care to keep the data secure at the time of designing the combo card. In fact, they are also planning to tie up with other educational institutions and transport services in designing similar combo cards, which will be launched in the near future, said Lal.
He added, “We are in talks with IIM-Ahmedabad and a few other educational institutions where similar cards will soon be introduced. In addition, card-based identity card facilities used at the time of travel — for instance, in a metro — for cities like Hyderabad, Nagpur and Mumbai are also being planned.”
The SBI branch on the college campus has opened about 7,500 student accounts since 2006. This year, 1,200 new accounts were opened at this branch.
Deflecting from its existing practices, CoEP is planning to introduce the combo card in their annual student elections. Students here cast their votes on an indigenously developed Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) which has a memory chip, containing details of students based on their batch already keyed in.
Trial tests using this newly launched combo card have proven good results and will not entertain any bogus voters. This has now given the college authorities the confidence to introduce the new cards for election in the next academic year.
“Though we stopped using paper ballots for our student elections four years ago after switching to RF I-cards, this will be a bigger technological leap. We are hopeful of introducing the combo cards during the elections next year,” announced S L Patil, dean of student facilities.