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UIDAI to be fully independent

delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2011 01:23 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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Nandan Nilekani-headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) mandated to issue unique IDs or Aadhaar cards to every resident in India will get full "functional autonomy", but its future role in enrolment will be decided by the Union cabinet later this month.

Planning Commission's deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia is expected to inform the finance ministry on Wednesday that it is willing to delegate all powers to the authority and it should have full "autonomy" without any panel's monitoring.

Plan panel member secretary Sudha Pillai had raised doubts over the UIDAI's functioning and asked the finance ministry to allow the panel to monitor the authority. The authority is an attached office of the Planning Commission, required to seek financial approvals for it from the government.

"I am fully backing UIDAI on autonomy," Ahluwalia said, when asked about Pillai's letter to the ministry, but added that concerns raised by her were genuine as the panel's secretary.

The panel now wants that an official in UIDAI should be held responsible, if an agency points out lapses, instead of the Planning Commission.

The official in UIDAI to be made responsible will be decided on Wednesday at a meeting between Ahluwalia and expenditure secretary Sumit Bose.

"If there is subsequent questioning of any expenditure, the responsibility must stop at the official there (in UIDAI)," he said, in a bid to end the conflict. It will mean the plan panel will have no role in the UIDAI's functioning.

On the issue of duplication of work between UIDAI and census commissioner on enrolment of residents for Aadhar, the plan panel wants the commissioner to use the biometric data generated by the authority to issue Multi-Purpose National Identity Cards.

The census commissioner expressed inability to use UIDAI data, citing security concerns as private vendors were enrolling people and rules under the Citizenship Act 1955.

Earlier, the cabinet committee on UIDAI wanted both the organisations to collect biometric data on a platform, which could be used by them.

The plan panel is expected to circulate a cabinet note on the issue of duplication in the cabinet committee by the end of this week.

The panel wants the census commission to change its rule, so that it can use the biometric data generated by UIDAI.