Nilekani checks in

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani formally assumed charge of his new assignment as the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and exuded confidence that the Authority would be able to roll out the first set of UID numbers within 12-18 months for the country's more than 1.7 billion population. He said that it would be an enabling infrastructure for other identification schemes and will conform to different applications.
Arguing that identity was important for everyone, especially for the poor, he said UIDAI would provide a database of residents. Nilekani said the UIDAI would not issue biometric cards itself but the database it will create would help government agencies to undertake that task. He said the UID number would help the government in identifying targeted beneficiaries for PDS, extending subsidy on kerosene or for providing new LPG connection. Departments can use the number for issuing cards. He said the key objective of the project was to minimise the need for multiple identity proofs for citizens while availing any government service, or for private needs like opening bank accounts or seeking telephone connections. "We have several options on biometrics like fingerprint, face identification, retina identification, DNA testing etc on devising the database," he said. Nilekani would spend the next few weeks setting up the requisite administrative infrastructure to deal with the project."We will pick up talent from both government and outside," he said.

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