29 Sep : The world’s first ID project where biometric data is used to provide unique identification numbers for India’s billion-plus citizens rolled out with PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi handing over the first set of 12-digit numbers to 10 tribals.
The country’s most tech savvy initiative called ‘Aadhaar’ (base) to provide the unique ID cards was hailed by Singh and Gandhi at the launch function as a “historic step” to provide identity to every Indian citizen and make delivery processes transparent.
Biometric-based data including from fingerprints and an iris scan is being used for the first time anywhere in the world to provide a cost-effective nationally valid and verifiable single source of identity proof through an authentification infrastructure.
“Nowhere in the world, technology has been used in such a big way. I hope every citizen will get this number very soon,” Singh said kickstarting the multi-billion project in the backward Tembhli tribal hamlet in western Maharashtra, about 300 km from Mumbai on Wednesday.
Singh also said the rolling out of the unique numbers displayed a symbol of a new and modern India. “We are moving fast in the field of technology.”
He said the issuing of unique identity cards is a beginning of a big effort for the welfare of the common man.
“The poor did not have any identity proof. Due to this shortcoming, they could not open bank accounts or get ration cards. They could not avail the benefits of government welfare programmes because of this and many times, these benefits were pocketed by others,” Singh said.
The ‘Aadhaar’ number will be for lifetime and can be used anywhere in the country, the Prime Minister said, adding the project will help in National Integration.
“I hope that soon every Indian will have a Aadhaar number,” he said.
Gandhi said “The project launched from this village today, will reach over a billion people and is a historic step.”
“Our goal is not only development but inclusive growth,” she said.Late Rajiv Gandhi dreamt of a 21st century India where Information technology will improve life of ‘aam aadmi’, she said, adding that Tembhli village is a symbol of “Rajiv’s vision”.
“We are using technology to better our lives. It can make the system transparent and ensure speedy delivery of resources to the needy without any malpractice,” she said.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chief Nandan Nilekeni, the former co-chairman of Information Technology major Infosys, was also present at the function.
UIDA said the government plans to give every Indian a number in the coming years after they submit their personal details, including fingerprints, an iris scan and photograph, to a vast Internet database.
It said the scheme would provide a cost-effective, ubiquitous authentification infrastructure to easily verify identities online and in real-time.
“Today there are a large number of residents, especially the poorest and the most marginalised, who face challenges in accessing various public benefit programmes due to the lack of possessing a clear identity proof,” it added.
Fingerprints and iris recognition will help agencies and service providers across India clean out duplicates and fakes from their databases, it said.
PM, Sonia praise Nilekani for UID project
Unique Identification Authority of India chief Nandan Nilekani came in for praise from PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for his work on the “historic” project, which will document the profile of every individual in the country.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday launched the ambitious Unique ID project christened ‘Aadhaar’, in Nandurbar, a tribal district in North Maharashtra.
Singh said Nilekani took over as chief of the ambitious project in July 2009 and has rolled out the first set of UID numbers in a short span of time available to him.
Gandhi said Nilekani and his team deserved appreciation for work on the “historic” project.Nilekani began his speech with greeting the crowd in Marathi and said, “It is due to the cooperation extended by Singh and Sonia Gandhi that the project has gone ahead and I am thankful to them.”