UIDAI works under powers delegated by PM: Nilekani

Last Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 21:30

New Delhi: The UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani
on Thursday asserted that the authority set up for issuing national
identity cards was working under the powers delegated by the
Prime Minister.

"My powers have been delegated by the Prime minister,"
Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI)
Chairman Nilekani said when asked whether the authority was on
a collision course with the Planning Commission.

"We are an attached office of the Planning Commission and
by series of government orders, several authorities have been
delegated to us," he said.

The issue came up after Planning Commission reportedly
expressed concerns that UIDAI is departing from set government
procedures and suggested a re-look into its structures.

The Commission reportedly in a communication to the
Finance Ministry said UIDAI has not got any of its financial
proposal examined by the panel`s secretary or financial
adviser.

The Plan panel had also suggested to the Finance Ministry
that a full time financial adviser be deputed in the
authority.

Explaining further, Nilekani said: "(Director General
of UIDAI) Ram Sewak Sharma`s powers are delegated by the
Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. The powers of financial
adviser K Ganga (of UIDAI), has been delegated by the
Expenditure Secretary."

"We are working within the powers granted to us. If
somebody feels that power should be different, then that is a
different matter," he pointed out.

On transparency issue, Nilekani said: "We follow every
government process and procurement procedures to the key. We
set the highest standards of transparency and integrity in our
operations." "We are working in the government system. We have tight
financial controls. Everything is on our website," Nilekani
added.

When asked whether there were any problems related to
availability of funds, he said: "We are quite happy with
finances. We have absolutely no issues. We are authorised to
enroll 200 million people and beyond that the Cabinet will
take a decision".

About using iris scan for issuing the unique identity
number, Nilekani said it is a closed issue because the
decision was taken one-and-a-half years ago.

"Iris scan is absolutely imperative. People who work in
the fields or other manual labour, the likelihood of their
finger prints eroding is there. The cost of Iris is marginal
at about Rs 5 per person and Rs 500 crore for entire project,"
he added.

PTI




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