The home ministry has raised concerns that a fresh proposal of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to independently collect biometric details could lead to duplication of effort and lead to wastage of public funds.
The Cabinet had earlier mandated the census commissioner to create the national population register (NPR), a biometrics-based identity system. This required the census commissioner to create a data-base of all residents through door-to-door enumeration and pass this database to UIDAI that will take care of duplication and issue number of each unique resident.
In a proposal set to come up before the Cabinet soon, the UIDAI had asked for over R14,840 crore to fund the authority's effort to independently create its own database of all residents over five years.
Home ministry officials said they had pointed out that this will lead to duplication of effort and wastage of public funds. "It will end up wasting crore of rupees to create a duplicate set of records and then, de-duplicating it," an official said.
Asked, home minister P Chidambaram said the UIDAI had been given permission by the Cabinet to collect biometrics of a limited number of cases till the NPR was completed.
"Now I think UIDAI is bringing paper to the Cabinet Committee of UID. The home ministry, the Planning Commission and others have given their comments," Chidambaram said, adding that no decision had been taken so far by the Cabinet Committee.
"When the Cabinet Committee takes a decision, I will tell you what the decision is," he said.
Government officials said the census commission has already completed the task of collecting forms from all residents.
So far, biometrics of 30 lakh people have been captured, the home minister announced in his monthly report to the people. Officials said the law did not permit them to use the data collected by the UID for its NPR.