Not only citizens but all residents of India, whether illegal migrants or not, would get the unique identification number.
"It is a number for all residents," Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of National Unique Identification Authority of India said, when asked whether illegal Bangladeshi migrants will also get the unique number.
But, illegal migrants could be weeded out through the process to get the identification number, which is yet to be decided. "We can ask for birth certificate or identity proof to get the number," he said. Citizenship will not be criteria to get the number.
Having the unique identification number will, however, be voluntary. But, those not getting the number will not be entitled to benefit from the government schemes.
"If you want to get a bank account or ration from Public Distribution System or a new LPG connection anywhere in the country having a unique number will be must," Nilekani said.
Same number will work all over the country ending the regime of new identity every time a person moves from one place to another.
He also made it clear that the authority will only issue a number based on bio-metric impressions but not the smart card. "We will issue unique number of each resident for both government and private use," Nilekani, who was earlier co-chairman of Infosys, said. "It will have social benefits and will empower poor people who have fight for their identification".
The identification number will be "enabling infrastructure" for agencies to determine whether a person is giving correct information about himself or not.
Nilekani, who took charge of the new authority on Thursday, however, said it would take at least a month to formalise a strategy to roll out the unique identification number protocol in 12 to 18 months at a cost of Rs 120 crore.