The Planning Commission has proposed out four options including amending the law to allow Nandan Nilekani headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to enroll beyond its present mandate of 200 million and end differences between the authority and the Home Ministry.
The ministrys Census commissioner had claimed that allowing UIDAI to collect biometric details would result in duplication of work as only it was authorized under the Citizenship Act of 1955 to collect the demographic information for creation of the National Population Register (NPR) of all residents.
The UIDAI had countered the claim saying that a Cabinet committee in 2008 had asked both organizations to work in coordination so that biometric details collected by either of them can be used by other.
The Census commissioner had refused to accept UIDAIs biometric data terming it unreliable in absence of verification of those enrolled. The NPR protocol details the process for verification through a public notice. The UIDAI enrolls residents on basis of prescribed documents and if introduced by a person having an Aadhaar number.
This issue remained unresolved at a meeting of a finance ministry committee, which restricted UIDAIs enrollment to 200 million people by March 2012, and left the final decision for the Cabinet.
Now, the plan panel has prepared a note for the Cabinets consideration with four options ---- amendment of the law to allow the commissioner and UIDAI to enroll, stop UIDAI from enrollment beyond 200 million, allow only commissioner to enroll and allow commissioner plus other government agencies such as banks to enroll.
But, the plan panel believes that allowing only the commissioner to enroll would delay linking government welfare schemes with unique identification (UID) or Aadhaar numbers.
The pace of enrolment of collection of bio-metric data by the Census commissioner has been very slow, a senior plan panel functionary told HT.
The government wants direct cash transfer of subsidies through Aadhaar based information technology platform for food, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas by end of 2012. It also intends to link disbursement of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to Aadhaar linked bank accounts.
The government is already working on a set of recommendations made by Nilekani committee on Aadhaar-linked welfare measures to prevent leakages and to have bigger impact for socially and economically backward classes. Checking leakages will reduce the governments subsidy burden, a panel official said.
Top panel sources said panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia wants to push for amendment of the citizenship law to fasten the enrolment process but is expected to face resistance from the Home Ministry, which does not want any tampering with the law.