New Delhi: India starts giving unique identity number to each of its one billion-plus citizens Wednesday when under the ambitious project the first set of numbers is distributed to some villagers of Nandurbar district in Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will formally launch the Unique Identification Numbers (Aadhaar) nationally by distributing the first numbers among the villagers, the Planning Commission said Monday.
The project is being implemented by Unique Identification Authority of India, which began working in August 2009 and promised it would start delivering the numbers within 12 to 18 months, the Planning Commission statement said.
"With the launch date for the project scheduled for Sept 29 now, the Unique ID Mission has achieved its goal of on-time delivery," it added.
The mission aims at delivering the `Aadhaar` number to every resident in the country, besides setting up a cost-effective, ubiquitous authentication infrastructure to easily verify these identities online and in real-time.
The unique identity project would ensure the uniqueness of the `Aadhaar` by linking them to biometric attributes like fingerprints and iris scans, said the statement adding: "This will help agencies and service providers across India clean out duplicates and fakes from their databases".
"The elimination of duplicate, ghost and fake identities across various schemes is expected to substantially improve the efficiency of the delivery systems by ensuring that the leakages are reduced and the benefits reach the right people," it added.
Pointing out the lack of identity proof available with large numbers of citizens, especially the poor ones, the statement said that this lack disables the most marginalised section of the society in accessing any benefit of various programmes launched by the government for them.
"The Aadhaar number will ease these difficulties in identification, by providing a nationally valid and verifiable single source of identity proof," it added.