National UID numbers in a few weeks

Sunday, September 26, 2010, 9:54
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Nandan Nilekani , the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has announced that the process of UID numbers being issued for citizens will be launched in a few weeks.

According to the plan that has been charted out, in the next four years, approximately 60 crore people will receive their UID numbers.

The identification numbers are also being called ‘Adhaar Numbers’, and will be more a method of identification – but will also function as an instrument of economic empowerment say sources. The numbers would facilitate people with receiving government services, especially in availing of benefits from government welfare programs.

The Chairman was speaking at the launch of the ‘Go India’ lecture series that was organized by the Forum for Revitalization of Public Services. Nilekani revealed that the UID number would soon be mandatory for activities like opening a new bank account, buying a home, or mobile phone.

With an aim to empower the common man, this project would help people across India who have no access to banking services, by implementing the development of micro ATMs throughout the country in small villages. These ATMs will be operated through the village Kirana stores. With the help of local agents who would be appointed for each region, the people in the villages would be able to withdraw and deposit their money through these ATMs. The UID project also aims to facilitate the government’s dissemination of special health schemes and food/fertilizer subsidies to the deserving beneficiaries directly.

The chairman also clarified that there would be a fool-proof mechanism in the system to ensure that number duplication or extra UID numbers being received by one person would not happen. To ensure this, the UID number system will be functioning on the basis of biometric proof of finger prints, image of the iris and the photograph.

Around 220 agencies have been empanelled for enrolling people for the allotment of the UID numbers. These include banking institutions, educational institutions, telecom department and other such institutions. To facilitate this work, the government will be supplying a standardized kit which has the software, camera and finger-print reading equipment. The UID number will not be a replacement for the PAN number.

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