Backing expansion of the Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI project at the cost of the national identity cards, planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Saturday said the unique identity number project was better than the smart ID cards.
Ahluwalia was responding to questions on a HT report on panel's rejection of the home ministry plan under which a chip-based smart card will be issued to all residents on the basis of records maintained by the National Population Register (NPR) - a digital data base currently under preparation
He also said the money sought for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will be realised in the form of increased efficiency. "... if you want a platform to improve the efficiency of government schemes' delivery, that money is well worth it," Ahluwalia told reporters on the sidelines of the North-East Business Summit on Saturday.
"We have suggested that what UIDAI is doing is actually better (than the proposal of issuing smart cards)," he said.
Under the UIDAI, Ahluwalia said, "All the details are centrally stored and you identify the person with (unique) identity number through any secured mobile telephone connection."
His rejection of the ministry project followed home minister P Chidambaram taking a tough stance against a UIDAI proposal to be allowed to independently enrol residents.
The home ministry has already enrolled nearly 27 crore households. Allowing the UIDAI to enrol people independently means the government will be spending twice the money.
Ahluwalia said, "I am not responsible for NPR. UIDAI money, I know what it is. It is well worth it..."