In a review meeting of the Aadhaar and the home ministry's National Population Register (NPR) project on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government was keen on using the biometric technology to "plug leakages" in welfare schemes. Bank accounts will be linked to both Aadhaar and NPR for cash transfers. The finance ministry has been directed to work out a mechanism for linking NPR to bank accounts. The Aadhaar, or the Unique Identity (UID) number, has been linked.
Ensuring authentication through NPR will help the government extend cash transfers to areas where transactions through the UID number are not possible. But since NPR is supposed to be synchronised with the UID number at the back-end, it is not clear if the authentication through NPR will happen through a smart card. Biometric smart cards has been a pending demand of the home ministry. It has maintained a card will work in even far-flung areas. But UID, which gives only a number, has opposed the project citing heavy cost and also it can misused if lost. In the meeting, it was decided 12 states with a population of 23 crore will be doing NPR and the rest UID.
Inputs from Sanjeeb Mukherjee