M A I N   N E W S

PC, Nilekani call truce; UIDAI to enroll 40 cr more
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
By June 2013, all Indians will have resident identity cards under the ongoing National Population Register (NPR) Scheme of the Home Ministry and unique identity numbers under the Aadhar scheme of the Planning Commission.

Both the Registrar General of India (RGI) and the Nandan Nilekani-headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will work together on achieving the goal of identifying every Indians, but the UIDAI will now work only in the 16 states where it is present and has made considerable progress. It will also conduct an eight-week security review of its systems, beginning Monday.

At a Cabinet meeting held today to address the concerns Home Minister P Chidambaram had raised with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over duplication of the NPR mandate by UIDAI (both were collecting biometric data of residents) and the security of UID data, it was today decided that UIDAI will enroll 60 crore Indians in 16 states of its current presence for collection of biometrics and issuance of Aadhar numbers.

In these states/UTs (Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, NCT of Delhi, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura), UIDAI has enrolled 20 crore and it today got the Cabinet approval to enroll another 40 crore residents.

While the authority expects to cover 20 crore residents by mid-February, Nilekani said he would conduct a security review before enrolling the additional 40 crore from April 1.

“NPR will continue its enrollment as originally mandated by the Cabinet. It will hold camps and if anyone visiting the camp says he has been captured under Aadhar, his Aadhar number will be used by NPR. In case of discrepancy in details, NPR’s 15 field database will prevail over UID’s 5-field database required for the purpose of delivery of government services alone,” Chidambaram said after the Cabinet meet.

Importantly, since NPR is a mandatory scheme, every resident would have to be covered by it irrespective of whether UIDAI, a voluntary system, has covered him. Chidambaram said that NPR would have to follow even in the 16 states where UIDAI will collect biometrics.

“We will have to sweep the remainders following the camp model and cover those who may not have voluntarily offered their biometric information to Aadhar. But if we know someone has an Aadhar number, we won’t get his biometric. So duplication is avoided,” Chidambaram said. NPR will hence be the master database.

The Government said today’s formula would ensure 95% biometric collection by RGI (Home Ministry) and UIDAI (Planning Commission) without duplication. “The most avoidable cost and the most avoidable duplication have been avoided. We hope to complete UIDAI and the NPR exercise by June 2013 when we will cover the whole country,” Home Minister said, admitting that unavoidable duplication would be 5 pc.

Going by the additional cost of Rs 5,500 crore the Cabinet today approved for the second phase (for 40 crore Indians) of UIDAI (its total approved cost is Rs 8,814 crore), unavoidable duplication would be Rs 250 crore.

Chidambaram, however, said minor cost is well worth paying the price for the benefits of NPR, adding that duplication would happen only if a person captured by Aadhar does not tell so.

Nilekani seemed happy even though his original mandate to collect biometrics of all Indians stood curtailed. 





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