Nilekani takes charge as chief of ID project

It will help in identifying illegal entrants

Nilekani takes charge as chief of ID project

“We hope to issue the first set of unique identification number in 12 to 18 months time. These numbers would be issued initially on voluntary basis. Subsequently, the authority over a period of time will cover the entire population of the country,” the high-profile IT expert Nilekani told newspersons after assuming the office.

Outlining the immediate task of the UIAI, he said the authority would create a database that will help in issuing unique identity cards.

“The database will comprise unique identification of a person utilising a basket of biometric indexes like fingerprint, ratina and DNA identification,” Nilekani, who was personally selected by the Prime Minister to head the prestigious project with the rank of a Cabinet Minister, said.

In reply to a specific query he clarified that the UIAI would not issue the Unique Identification card. “We will not issue card. We will issue the ID number which will be backed up with a comprehensive database in biometrics about the identification of the person concerned. Our job is to prove X is X. Various government agencies can make use of this database,” Nilekani said.

“Proving identity is important for everyone, especially for the poor. Getting an identity is equally a tough job,” he said.

To remove multiple IDs
The basic idea behind giving the Unique Id card is to avert the need for multiple proofs of identity for citizens while availing any government service or for private needs like opening bank accounts or seeking telephone connections, he said.

In reply to a query as to how the UIAI will identify whether the person seeking unique ID number is a genuine citizen of the country or an illegal immigrant he simply said, “It is expected to enhance national security by helping to identify illegal entrants.”

Setting out the task facing the UIAI, Nilekani said, “First we will have to create the requisite administrative infrastructure to deal with the project.  We will have a judicious mix of talent from both government and outside. We will induct biometric experts and others for security and identity management.”

Asked about the total cost of the ambitious project he said, “The figure is yet to be worked out. The Budget this year has already allocated funds to start the project.”

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