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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Nilekani: Aadhaar a game-changer

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 23, 2012
First Published: 22:57 IST(23/11/2012) | Last Updated: 01:30 IST(24/11/2012)

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairperson, Nandan Nilekani said, Aadhaar, the world's biggest individual digital identification system would change the "game" of how the government interacts with individuals.

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Nilekani also emphasised on a need to have a "legal infrastructure" to deal with concerns on privacy at VM Tarkunde Memorial Lecture and said a committee headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi high court AP Shah has submitted a draft framework of the privacy law to the government.

Admitting that privacy was a concern, he said that the UIDAI was collecting only limited amount of personal information such as residential address and age necessary to verify one's identity.

"The information being collected is only for establishing one's identity and not for any other purpose," he said.

Aadhaar, the world's biggest individual identify programme, Nilekani said, would change the "game" on how the government interacts with individuals and it would happen at three levels.

First with every Indian resident getting Aadhaar number, second by transfer of entitlements directly into one's bank accounts and third by enabling beneficiaries to choose their government service provider.

"A person in a village will have a choice from which banking correspondent he or she wants to conduct financial transaction," he said. 

Defining Aadhaar for general audience the co-founder of IT major Infosys said Aadhaar was world's first digital identification system, which works in the online world.

"It is like your internet space which could be accessed from anywhere and empowers the deprived," he said, terming it a "gateway" to services.

He said Aadhaar will benefit both people and the government and is a risk worth taking.

"It will check corruption by eliminating interface with government officials and improve accountability in delivery of services," he said.

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