The first phase of a social security card system that will provide Shanghai residents with easier access to information on social security, public housing funds, medical insurance and unemployment benefit has been completed.
Shanghai began work on the new system back in 1998 and began manufacturing the specific integrated circuit card as a social security card with a total investment of 100 million yuan (US$12 million).
More than 5.8 million adults who currently enjoy medical care and social security treatment in the city obtained the social security cards by the middle of December.
Sun Jianping, vice-director of the Shanghai Informatization Office, said: "In the second phase, 3.8 million more Shanghai residents will obtain the card."
These residents will include students and employees who are from other provinces but are also entitled to Shanghai medical care and social security benefits.
Hu Liqi, chief engineer of Shanghai Social Security Card Service Centre, said: "The card records personal information about the owner and can be used as an electronic credential for inquiries."
Shanghai Social Security Card Service Centre will maintain and revise the database of all the information of each card owner.
The information on card owner comes from and can be checked by social security bureaux, the police, medical insurance companies, public housing funds and other authorities, according to the centre.
Sun said Shanghai Municipality has issued laws and regulations to ensure that all the information on the cards is confidential and will not be used for commercial purposes.
Officials believe the card will be utilized in many aspects such as for those applying for driving licences or passports.
The officials revealed that by 2003, the majority of people living and working in Shanghai will have social security cards.
(China Daily January 4, 2002)