UIDAI better than Home Ministry`s proposal: Montek

UIDAI was mandated to issue 200 million Aadhaar numbers or national identity cards to residents by the end of this fiscal.

New Delhi: The Planning Commission on Saturday said
the Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI project is better than the one
being advocated by the Home Ministry for capturing data
regarding residents and improving the delivery of the
government schemes.

"We have suggested that what Unique Identification
Authority of India (UIDAI) is doing is actually better (than
the proposal of issuing smart cards)," Plan panel Deputy
Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters on the
sidelines of the North-East Business Summit.

Under the UIDAI, he said, "All the details are centrally
stored and you identify the person with (unique) identity
number through any secured mobile telephone connection".

He was responding to questions on the proposal of the
Home Ministry under which a chip-based smart card will be
issued to all residents on the basis of record maintained by
the National Population Register (NPR) -- a digital data base
currently under preparation.

Home Minister P Chidambaram had earlier said that "the
data collected by multiple registrars of the UIDAI does not
meet the degree of assurance required under the NPR from the
point of view of internal security".

According to Ahluwalia, "There is a big difference
between the technology UIDAI is using which is based on the
identity number and you will actually have online
authentication. You don`t have to swipe the card to
authenticate yourself."

He further said whatever money has been sought for UIDAI
will be realised in the form of increased efficiency.

"...If you want a platform to improve the efficiency of
government schemes` delivery that money is well worth it," he

On duplication of work and extra burden on exchequer,
Ahluwalia said, "I am not responsible for NPR. UIDAI money, I
know what it is. It is well worth it...The way UIDAI is doing
it, is the right way to do it."

Unlike the Home Ministry`s proposal, he said, "(In UIDAI
system) you don`t have to swipe the card to authenticate
yourself. Smart card technology is that... it can only be read
by someone who actually has a card reading device."

On the fate of both the proposals, Ahluwalia said, "This
will go to the EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee) and it will
take a combined view. They (Home Ministry) must have given
their comments."

Asked about why the Commission is so critical about the
NPR project, he said, "On every project, we often raise
issues. This is the job of the Planning Commission to
criticise every proposal. This is constructive...way."

UIDAI was mandated to issue 200 million Aadhaar numbers
or national identity cards to residents by the end of this

Now Since the UIDAI is about the complete the mandated
task, the Commission wants more resources for the authority
for continuation of its work and cover remaining residents.

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