UIDAI struggles for identity despite record 12-cr mark

UIDAI struggles for identity despite record 12-cr mark

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is all set to touch the 12-crore mark – the number of  Aadhaar numbers generated – and become the largest biometric database holder in the world, is itself struggling for an identity.

While the UIDAI is busy enrolling ‘residents’, spending thousands of crores of rupees, the Ministry of Home Affairs maintains that the Registrar General of India (RGI) under it has the mandate to collect the data through the National Population Register.

Before Cabinet
The Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI, under the Planning Commission, has also been authorised to gather information.

UIDAI chairman Nilekani, who was in the City on Friday, said: “The matter is before the Cabinet now, and it is for the government to take a decision.”

The solution, though, could be in the convergence of both bodies.

“There is a group working on it, but I cannot give you any timeframe,” he said.
The Planning Commission and Home Minister P Chidambaram are at loggerheads over the issue and the minister is also understood to have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to direct the Planning Commission to bring a note to the Cabinet for it to arrive at an early decision on the issue.

Questions over the security of the data collected by UIDAI, as opposed to the RGI, have also arisen, besides an  additional burden on the exchequer, with two agencies collecting the same data.
Also, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has rejected the National Identification Bill 2010.

Nilekani again put the ball in the government’s court and said the decision has to be made by the Centre. Undeterred by all this, the UIDAI is likely to touch the 12-crore mark by Saturday.

60 pc by 2012
R K Sharma, Director General, UIDAI, said the authority was moving in the right direction to meet the target it had set for itself for 2014.

 “We had the target of completing enrolment of 60 per cent of the population by 2014 and we are scaling up well to meet the same,” he said. The authority, he said, was capable of enrolling a million people each day. He said he was confident that the capacity was likely to increase.

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