The Nandan Nilekani-headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has got 19 bids for its first information technology project, on application development services. Among those who applied are Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and IBM.
“We are evaluating these firms and will soon shortlist some of them. The process should be completed by March-end or early April this year,” said a source from UIDAI. The body had extended the deadline for bidding for this project from February 24 to March 2.
Meanwhile, professional services firm Ernst & Young bagged the contract from UIDAI to become consulting partner for the project.
UIDAI was allocated Rs 120 crore in last year’s budget and saw its allocation increased by 16 times to Rs 1,900 crore for 2010-11. The first set of UIDs are to be issued between August 2010 and February 2011. Nilekani says the plan is to issue 600 million UIDs over the next five years.
The Union Budget also announced the setting up of a Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects, to be also headed by Nilekani. It will create IT projects in systems like the Tax Information Network, New Pension Scheme, National Treasury Management Agency, Expenditure Information Network and the Goods and Services Tax, all in different stages of rollout.
The high interest of IT firms in the project is due to the immense opportunity ahead. Biometrics (which includes fingerprint, face and iris recognition) and computing power hold the keys to the UID project, which is estimated to offer a Rs 15,000-20,000 crore opportunity to computing, database, smartcard and storage vendors, besides system integrators. For every rupee of IT spending on the project, industry experts estimate, around 60 per cent of this will go to hardware vendors.
UIDAI pegs its annual revenue potential, through both address verification and biometrics confirmation, at Rs 288 crore. It has identified three transaction types. The basic ID confirmation would be free, where the potential user agencies could be, for instance, the airlines which do passenger check-ins. The second type of transaction is that of ‘address verification’, which will cost Rs 5 each and can be levied by banks, for example, when users open accounts. The third one comprises ‘biometrics confirmation’, which will be charged Rs 10. Credit card companies are one variety of potential users.