Moving swiftly to give every adult resident an identity card, the home ministry has asked the government for clearance to expand its ID card project for coastal regions to the rest of the country.
The home ministry has planned to issue the cards to all residents above 18 years by December 2013 at a tentative all inclusive cost of R80 per card including its delivery.
This figure is based on the estimated costs for smart cards to 80 lakh residents in 3,331 coastal area villages.
The move comes in the backdrop of the home ministry opposing any dilution in the mandate of the Registrar General of India to enroll residents for the National Population Register(NPR).
Union home minister P Chidambaram had disagreed with three suggestions mooted by Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia that would have given the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) a greater role in enrolment of residents.
The UIDAI only has the government approval to enrol and issue a unique identity numbers to 20 crore residents. For the rest, it has to depend on the home ministry-run NPR for its database.
The UIDAI is uncomfortable with this dependence, primarily over concerns that delays in creating the NPR would slow it down too.
The home ministry, however, emphasised that its December 2012 target was five years ahead of the UIDAI’s modest target of 2017.
Even if NPR is delayed as feared, it still would be completed before the UIDAI’s 2017 target, an official said.