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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Karnataka to halt Aadhaar enrolments But CORPORATE Rules India!The LPG Mafia Rule By PASS the Parliament once again as The government today approved a compromise formula to end the battle of biometrics between the Ministry of Home Affairs and UIDAI.

Karnataka to halt Aadhaar enrolments But CORPORATE Rules India!The LPG Mafia Rule By PASS the Parliament once again as The government today approved a compromise formula to end the battle of biometrics between the Ministry of Home Affairs and UIDAI. Authority to work in tandem with population register.

The Cabinet on Friday extended the mandate of the unique identification project to cover another 400 million people by June 2013. Until now, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was mandated to enrol 200 million people by March 2012.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is now set to work with a renewed energy in providing Aadhar identification number to people, with the cabinet extending the authority's mandate to enrol another 400 million people by June 2013. UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said within six-eight weeks the authority would refresh its entire functioning, including security aspects, and begin work with the reworked strategy from April. 

Meanwhile,the curtains will come down on enrolments for Aadhaar, the Central government's ambitious unique identification programme, by February 15 at all 2,245 enrolment centres across Karnataka.The Hindu reports. A letter sent to Deputy Commissioners, in 23 districts where Aadhaar is being rolled out, by the State department of e-governance, informs them of the decision to stop enrolments, adding that "further enrolments are likely to be done by an agency to be designated by the government of India." The letter, dated January 24, adds that this decision follows instructions from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to stop enrolments.

Sources in the UIDAI confirmed to The Hindu that similar instructions have been communicated to all registrars and State governments across the country. The project, which crossed the 120 million mark (in terms of Aadhaar numbers generated), is expected to cross the 200 million mark by mid-February. The project, which is caught in a bitter turf war between the Home Ministry and the Union Planning Commission, had only been given permission to enrol 200 million citizens. On Friday, the Union Cabinet decided to increase the cap to 600 million, and approved a list of States where the UIDAI could proceed with data collection. Karnataka is among the top three States in terms of numbers of enrolment, and State officials are hopeful will figure on the UIDAI list as "a lot of infrastructure has been put in place already." 

"There is a lot of uncertainty about this project, even among enrolment agencies, which is also resulting in a slow-down in number or registrations. A lot of money has been invested even at the State level," a highly placed official toldThe Hindu. The Parliamentary Standing Committee had also rejected the National Identification Authority of India Bill in December 2011. The UIDAI has set February 28 as the last date for receiving data packets, which contain demographic and biometric data, and has asked registrars to work towards it. In Karnataka, enrolments are being carried out by two registrars, the department of e-governance and the India Post. Sources in the India Post confirmed that similar instructions have been communicated to them too. 

The department of e-government's letter, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, also requests the Deputy Commissioners to "review and approve ramp down plans," ensure "safety of the data and uploading by enrolment agencies" and "communicate to residents" about the decision to stop enrolments. It also asks the district offices to submit all statements of expenditure related to funds released by the Centre for e-governance for the UIDAI enrolment and publicity activities. 

Till date, around 22 per cent of citizens in Karnataka have been covered, D.S. Ravindran, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for e-governance told The Hindu. Over 133 lakh Aadhaar numbers have been issued. However, barring Mysore and Tumkur — both districts that were part of the pilot project have completed over 95 per cent enrolments — enrolments in most other districts are below 20 per cent. At 18 lakh enrolments, coverage of Bangalore city stands at a modest 21 per cent. Bidar is the only district to cross over 30 per cent in the State. A compromise was reached on Thursday on the Unique Identification Number (UID) project by Home Ministry and the Planning Commission, Home Minister P Chidambaram said. The Home Minister said that there will be no duplication of work between the UIDAI and the National Population Register (NPR). The NPR is collected by the Home Minister. 

The collection of biometric data for the UIDs had also sparked a row, with both the Home Ministry and the UIDAI authorised to collect data. Chidambaram, however, said that the biometric data will be collected by only one authority. Chidambaram also said that the usage of Aadhar number will also begin soon. "Aadhar number will be useful only when we use it in different programmes," Chidamabaram said. 

The NPR will continue to capture biometric data, but if a person says he/she has taken an Aadhar number, no biometric data will then be collected by the NPR. The Home Minister said that the applications of Aadhar can be used for other things including MNREGA, scholarships and ration cards. Chidambaram pegged the total cost of the project at Rs 8850 crore.


* UIDAI to cover 600 mn people in 16 states/UTs

* NPR to provide Aadhar numbers in remaining areas

* No duplication in biometric record-taking

* Both agencies to accept Aadhar numbers given by each other

* NPR data to prevail in case of a discrepancy

The issue of who would collect biometric records — UIDAI or the home ministry under the National Population Register (NPR) project —has also been resolved. Both will accept the biometric records collected by each other. "Biometric records will be captured only once. The Aadhaar number given by one will be accepted by the other agency," Home Minister P Chidambaram said after the meeting. 
The UIDAI has been given permission — and finances to the tune of an additional 5,791 crore — to enrol another 40 crore people in 16 States under its Aadhaar scheme. The NPR will accept the biometric data collected by the UIDAI in those States and continue to collect its own data through the Registrar-General of India in the remaining States.

In return, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani has promised to address the Home Ministry's security concerns through a full review of the UIDAI processes over the next two months to ensure that its data collection met the NPR's requirements. "We take [the security concerns] very seriously. What we have promised the Cabinet is that before we go into the next phase of 40 crores, for the next six to eight weeks, we'll do a complete refresh of the entire strategy, see what processes need to be changed, what investigations need to be done," Mr. Nilekani said, speaking to journalists along with Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. "We'll resume only in April. I'm very grateful for Mr. Chidambaram's support on that." 

The UIDAI had been mandated to enrol 20 crore people by March 2012. 

While the UIDAI is a voluntary scheme, the NPR is mandatory for all residents. What this means is that if a resident had enrolled himself with the UIDAI and had his fingerprints and iris scanned, he can merely give his Aadhaar number to the NPR registrars, than submitting himself to biometric data collection twice. Mr. Chidambaram said the duplication between the two agencies would be not be more than 5 per cent, reducing the government's expenditure on biometric data collection. In case of "discrepancies between UIDAI data and NPR data, NPR will prevail." 

The Cabinet committee on UIDAI also approved additional spending of Rs 5,500 crore for UID cards. The total cost of the scheme is now projected at Rs 8,814 crore. Of that, Rs 3,200 crore has already been provided. Under the agreed road map, UIDAI will continue enrolling people in 16 states/UTs, while NPR will do the job in the rest of the country, mostly coastal and border areas. UIDAI has enrolled around 200 million people in the 16 states/UTs, with a total population of 610 million. The states/UTs are: Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura.

While NPR captures 15 fields, UID is capturing five fields in its data. Aaadhar is voluntary but NPR is mandatory. "With joint effort, we hope that the process of providing Aadhar numbers to the whole population will pick up speed. Avoidable cost and duplication will be mostly avoided by on Friday's decision. Possible duplication would be very small, maximum five per cent, and that is very small in a country of 1.2 billion," said Chidambaram. 

Chidambaram said NPR would give resident identity cards with Aadhaar numbers and not take biometric records in cases where UID had already given an Aadhaar number and taken biometric records. The solution was found after the committee postponed its meeting on Wednesday and Prime Minister Manmohan singh discussed the proposed extension in the backdrop of the home ministry's apprehensions over the UID data collection mechanism.
Palash Biswas
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