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Compromise reached on Unique ID project row

Friday January 27, 2012 08:03:18 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: A compromise formula over identity cards for 1.2 billion Indians was worked out Friday with the government asking both the home ministry and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to collect biometric data without any duplication.

A meeting of the cabinet committee on UIDAI chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh extended the mandate of UIDAI to issue 600 million cards after the formula was approved. The authority has already collected data from 200 million people of India.

The collection of biometric data by Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI had sparked a row after the Planning Commission and the home ministry were locked in a turf war over the project.

The home ministry had raised fears that its National Population Register (NPR) project and the Planning Commission-mandated UIDAI could end up duplicating the work of collecting biometric data.

But the issue seems to have been resolved now.

"The NPR will continue to capture biometric data, but if a person says he or she has taken an Aadhar number, no biometric data will then be collected by the NPR," Home Minister P. Chidambaram said at a joint presser with Nilekani and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

"We had raised the issue that there will be duplication in the collection of biometric ID. We had proposed that one authority will collect biometric, the second authority will take it," said Chidambaram.

Nilekani said: "We have promised to the cabinet we will do a complete refresh of the strategy."

The UID project, called Aadhar, aims to give every Indian resident a unique identity number.

The cabinet committee also approved additional expenditure of Rs.5,000 crore for the project. The UIDAI authority will continue enrolling people in 16 states and union territories while the home ministry-led National Population Register will do the job in other states.

The UIDAI and the NPR will collect the data without duplication and the process of enrolment will be complete by June 2013, according to the decision taken at the meeting.





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