M A I N   N E W S

Parliamentary panel rebuffs UID project
Wants govt to review Bill, bring in modified draft
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
The Prime Minister’s pet project on providing unique identity to people suffered a setback today with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by BJP’s Yashwant Sinha, submitting an adverse report and suggesting that the Government should review the UID Bill and introduce a modified draft.

The Government is not obliged to accept the recommendation but given the mood in Parliament, it may find it difficult to get it passed. The Bill, once passed, would make the Unique Identification Authority of India an autonomous body and make it easier for the body to function.

The UIDAI has already generated data for over 70 million (seven crore) residents and issued over 50 lakh unique identity cards. While its budget for the current year is Rs 1,660 crore, the entire project is estimated to cost Rs 17,864 crore. Nandan Nilekani, who heads the UIDAI and holds a cabinet minister’s rank, was keen on the enactment of the Bill and had personally appeared before the Standing Committee, which has been deliberating over it for the past one year.

The Standing Committee’s decision was apparently arrived at unanimously with even Congress members saying that the project was directionless. The project has been criticised in the past by the Planning Commission, the Finance Ministry and the Home Ministry. It was also being opposed by the Registrar General of India and the Census Commissioner, who felt that enumeration of census data was their job.

While the Finance Ministry objected to the cost incurred on the project and ‘duplication’ by the Home Ministry, the latter objected to the unique identity on the ground that it was running parallel to its own ‘National Population register’ (NPR) and posed threats to internal security. The Planning Commission had expressed its reservations on the structure and functioning of the Authority and suggested that its books be audited more closely.

Officials at the UIDAI said, on condition of anonymity, that they had not only worked very hard but had taken all possible precautions to make the exercise safe and secure. Both demographic and biometric data, they said, were collected and its methods of collecting data were approved by the Demographics Standard and Verification Procedure Committee.

The Cabinet Committee on UID headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to meet soon to resolve the issue. Home Minister P Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are also its members. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister ,Pulok Chatterji, Union Home Secretary R K Singh and Registrar General of India (RGI) C Chandramouli have already held discussions to work out a solution.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |