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Unique identity for 400 mn more Indians

Authority to work in tandem with population register

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The Cabinet on Friday extended the mandate of the unique identification project to cover another 400 million people by June 2013. Until now, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was mandated to enrol 200 million people by March 2012.

The issue of who would collect biometric records — UIDAI or the home ministry under the National Population Register (NPR) project —has also been resolved. Both will accept the biometric records collected by each other. “Biometric records will be captured only once. The Aadhaar number given by one will be accepted by the other agency,” Home Minister P Chidambaram said after the meeting.

JOINING HANDS

* UIDAI to cover 600 mn people in 16 states/UTs

* NPR to provide Aadhar numbers in remaining areas

* No duplication in biometric record-taking

* Both agencies to accept Aadhar numbers given by each other

* NPR data to prevail in case of a discrepancy

The Cabinet committee on UIDAI also approved additional spending of Rs 5,500 crore for UID cards. The total cost of the scheme is now projected at Rs 8,814 crore. Of that, Rs 3,200 crore has already been provided.

Under the agreed road map, UIDAI will continue enrolling people in 16 states/UTs, while NPR will do the job in the rest of the country, mostly coastal and border areas.

UIDAI has enrolled around 200 million people in the 16 states/UTs, with a total population of 610 million. The states/UTs are: Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura.

While NPR captures 15 fields, UID is capturing five fields in its data. Aaadhar is voluntary but NPR is mandatory.

“With joint effort, we hope that the process of providing Aadhar numbers to the whole population will pick up speed. Avoidable cost and duplication will be mostly avoided by on Friday’s decision. Possible duplication would be very small, maximum five per cent, and that is very small in a country of 1.2 billion,” said Chidambaram. 

UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said within six-eight weeks the authority would refresh its entire functioning, including security aspects, and begin work with the reworked strategy from April.

Chidambaram said NPR would give resident identity cards with Aadhaar numbers and not take biometric records in cases where UID had already given an Aadhaar number and taken biometric records. The solution was found after the committee postponed its meeting on Wednesday and Prime Minister Manmohan singh discussed the proposed extension in the backdrop of the home ministry’s apprehensions over the UID data collection mechanism.

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First Published: Sat, January 28 2012. 00:59 IST
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