Nandan Nilekani's Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is seeking a Union Cabinet go-ahead, with Aadhaar enrolments beyond 20 crore residents, on the ground that the scheme objective was fundamentally different from the National Population Register (NPR) of the home ministry and convergence of the two projects was not feasible.
Government sources said the authority was now seeking a fresh revision in the already circulated note for the Union Cabinet stating that the Aadhaar project's objective was to provide a proof of identity to all willing residents in order to improve delivery of social welfare programmes, while NPR's objective was enhancing national security.
The authority also plans to include its point of view to the objections raised by the standing committee on finance last month on The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 and the functioning of UIDAI in the revised cabinet note.
Notwithstanding the contrary views of the Registrar General of India (RGI), the authority feels allowing multiple registrars to collect the demographic and biometric information of all willing residents was the best way forward. According to sources, as the objective of the Aadhaar project was development, one with special focus on inclusion of marginalised migrants, its convergence with NPR was not feasible.
This means that the authority is not averse to work duplication with RGI despite huge financial implications for the exchequer.
The authority believes that making RGI the sole registrar of UIDAI would make the roll out of Aadhaar totally dependent on the pace of enrolment done by the home ministry body. This, sources said, would be detrimental to the UPA's plan of action as accelerated implementation of Aadhaar would result in huge savings by the way of preventing leakages at delivery points and convenience to people.
The authority feels that the savings alone would be sufficient reason to justify investment in the Aadhaar project.
Nilekani and the Planning Commission want to point out to the Cabinet that if further authorisation was not made, work on the UID project would come to a standstill later this month as 20 crore enrolments would be completed by mid-January 2012.