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India – UID number could help improve national security: Nilekani

AHMEDABAD: The Unique Identification (UID) number would be useful in improving security in the country, Unique Identification Authority of India
(UIDAI) Chairman, Nandan Nilekani said here on Tuesday.

“When we have the full coverage, that is once everybody has the number, which may take number of years, it will help in identification of a person,” Nilekani said when quizzed about implications of the UID project on national security.

“At that point if somebody doesn’t have UID that would itself become an issue. And more appropriately under the then legal framework you can also track somebody (with help of the UID number). So I think it would benefit security. But the primary focus as of now is on development,” he added.

Nilekani was speaking on sidelines of a function orgainsed by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (Gujarat Branch) where he delivered lecture on ‘UID Project: Issues and Challenges’.

“There may be a time when hotels may require UID number to get a room there. Once a person gets the number and if he is suspected (of terrorist activity) he can be traced.”

Either way if one has the number or not, it will help improve security, he added.

The co-founder of Infosys said that they plan to start issuing UID number within 18 months time.

“Our goal is to start issuing numbers within 18 months and our clock started ticking on August 12. So by February 2011 we need to start issuing numbers,” Nilekani said.

“Within next five and half years from now we hope to issue 600 million UID numbers,” he added.

“For this we need cooperation of all the agencies. What we are doing is building the highways to collect information but the actual traffic on the highways or speed depends on the political will and desire of the agencies to collect information,” Nilekani said.

He said to achieve their target they are building a core unit and would be soon opening eight regional offices with technical and marketing teams.

Nilekani said the purpose of UID number was to verify the identity of every Indian.

“We plan to make this unique using science of biometrics. In our model we propose to have details of all 10 finger prints, picture of the persons iris and have some combination of it to decide the uniqueness,” he said.

“Our biometric committee will be coming out with recommendations soon. The biometric signature would make the person unique,” he added.

The UIDAI chairman Nilekani said data collection by various agencies involved would be standard process which would be decided by a committee.

“To standardise the data that would be collected we have set up a Data Standard and Verification Committee chaired by N Vittal, former Chief Vigilance commissioner. They are going to come out with biometric and data verification standards in next few weeks which will be uploaded on our website for public scrutiny,” Nilekani said.

He said UID number would enhance access to services by the government.

“With UID there will be reduction in frauds. Also it will reduce the time for verification of identity of a beneficiary who wants to enrol for a development scheme,” Nilekani said.

He said that they have partnered with implementing authorities of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the Registrar General of India to collect authentic information from across the country.

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December 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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