Get ready to have two photo identity cards based on similar bio-metric details to avail services from separate Central government agencies.
Nandan Nilekani headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Census commissioner will issue their own photo identity cards. Both the photo-identity cards will have your picture, address and other bio-metric details of finger prints and iris scan.
As per the earlier government decision, the Census commissioner was supposed to issue a national identity card based on biometric based Aadhaar number to be generated by UIDAI.
"Now the government has decided to deliver the UID/Aadhaar number in the form of an Aadhaar card," the UIDAI said in the document seeking request for proposals for printing Aadhaar cards. Every resident in India will get a machine readable Aadhaar card.
"There was a genuine grievance that the letter containing Aadhaar obviously did not have a long life," a UIDAI official explained. The plastic card would resolve this problem and act as an identity card as well to enable the government to deliver services through its e-governance programmes.
But the move has provoked strong protests from the planning commission and the home ministry. They claim that Aadhaar card would duplicate the work already undertaken by the Census commissioner, mandated to issue identity cards for population above 18 years.
UIDAI’s Director-General RS Sharma did not respond to HT's email or text messages.
The government has estimated that the Census commissioner will require Rs 6,789 crore to issue national identity cards. The UIDAI’s decision, which includes postal deliver of Aadhaar number to residents, would cost another Rs 2,000 crore, if entire population of 1.2 billion gets Aadhar cards.
While the Aadhaar card would act as single identification document across India to avail services such as opening a bank account or applying for water or electricity connection the Census commissioner’s identity card as be proof of residence. "Both the cases would serve same purpose," admitted a government official, who was not willing to be quoted.
The issue is likely to be discussed at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on UIDAI, where the authority is expected to submit a proposal seeking enrolment of all residents by 2017. A finance ministry committee had allowed UIDAI to enroll 20 crore people till March 2012, leaving the final decision to the Cabinet committee.