Head of the Unique Identification Authority of India,Nandan Nilekani speaks to HT.
What problems did the UIDAI face in the first three phases? How do you plan to tackle them ?
The UIDAI has been able to enrol residents, through multiple registrars, on a large scale across the country. In little over 17 months, about 20 crore residents have enrolled for Aadhaar. The magnitude and complexity of the operation is unparalleled. UIDAI is analysing the challenges we faced in terms of enrolment process, technology scaling up, communication strategy to reach out to the residents in order to fine tune them before the next 40 crore are enrolled.
By when do you expect to cover all residents with an Aadhaar number and roll out all Aadhaar-based applications?
The government has mandated the UIDAI to cover another 40 crore residents in specific States/UTs. In the remaining states the NPR will enrol residents for Aadhaar. With this convergence a large segment of our population would be covered in the years to come.
How does UIDAI plan to remove apprehensions of sceptics?
The UIDAI's mandate is to issue a unique number to residents as well as define usage and applicability for delivery of various services. The benefit is at different levels. At one level, having an Aadhaar number is in itself empowering since it is a proof of identity for a large segment who have no other formal proof. The Aadhaar can also be used for making delivery of services more convenient.
What are Aadhaar's benefits?
Aadhaar is sufficient for opening a bank account, getting a new mobile or LPG connection. It is also recognised by many states as a proof of identity and address for social welfare schemes. UIDAI would be concentrating on developing, with stakeholders, applications that use Aadhaar to benefit residents. Enabling access to financial services through an Aadhaar-enabled bank account is also an important application.