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Top ministers to assist UIDAI
NEW DELHI, AUG 3 (IANS):
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Published on 3 Aug. 2009 11:37 PM IST
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Top ministers in the government, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are part of a council to advice the newly constituted Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) that will provide a single identity number and card to each of the country’s 1.17 billion people. The council set up Monday under the chairmanship of the prime minister will ensure better coordination between ministries, stakeholders and partners. “The council is expected to advice the UIDAI on the programme, methodology and implementation to ensure coordination between ministries, departments, stakeholders and partners,” said a release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). It will also identify specific milestones for early completion of the project. “The fact that the prime minister has staffed the council with all the senior-most cabinet ministers shows the importance that is being given to this project,” said a PMO official. A national population registry is expected be ready by 2010, following that the rollout of the biometric cards will begin. Nandan Nilekani, the 54-year-old co-founder of Infosys Technologies, took charge as the chairman of the UIDAI last month and started work. The main task of the authority would be to create a database that will help in issuing unique identity cards. Members of the newly appointed council are Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Sharad Pawar, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Minister C.P. Joshi, Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani. The main purpose of this ambitious project would avert the need for multiple proofs of identity for citizens while availing any government service, or for private needs like opening bank accounts or seeking telephone connections. It is also expected to enhance national security by helping to identify illegal aliens. Nilekani was personally selected by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to head the project with the rank of a cabinet minister.

 
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