The Authority will now start the third phase of issuing the 12-digit Aadhar number to another 40 crore citizens in the 16 states and Union Territories it is already working in. The Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI also gets an additional Rs 5,000 crore, with its tenure running well into 2017. By March this year, the UIDAI would have issued 20 crore numbers, at a cost of Rs 3,023 crore.
At a joint press conference today, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Nilekani and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia put up a united front, saying the NPR and UID projects would proceed side by side to ensure that all Indian citizens have a unique number by June 2013.
“I am very happy that both the NPR and UID will now go ahead in tandem,” said Ahluwalia, adding that while the UID will only give Aadhar numbers in 16 states and UTs to 40 crore more people, the NPR will continue to cover the entire Indian population “with minimum biometric duplication”.
“The NPR will issue a chip-based card to all citizens and this will have the UID number on it as well. The UID number will essentially help in delivery of government services to citizens while the NPR is a national project that factors in security concerns,” Ahluwalia added.
The NPR will continue with the originally mandated “flow camp model”, holding camps across states to enrol citizens but will not collect biometric data of those who have been issued an Aadhar number. It will however collect biometric data for those without the Aadhar number, Chidambaram clarified.
“In states where the UIDAI has started the process of issuing the UID, we will take a leadership role, and where the NPR is involved, they will take the leadership role,” Nilekani added.
A dispute had arisen as the Home Ministry had refused to accept the UIDAI biometric data saying their collection methodology did not meet security requirements. The NPR covers as many as 15 fields in its data collection, while the UID covers only five.