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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Punjab gets thumbs up for administrative reforms

Pawan Sharma  Chandigarh, October 11, 2012
First Published: 23:54 IST(11/10/2012) | Last Updated: 23:57 IST(11/10/2012)

Various administrative reforms initiatives, undertaken by the Punjab government, are likely to be converged with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) programme, popularly known as the Aadhaar scheme.

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During what he described as a "very busy day" here on Thursday, Nandan Nilekani, the technology tycoon who heads the UIDAI programme, gave the thumbs up to the Punjab government's initiatives for administrative reforms, launched through the Punjab Governance Reforms Commission (PGRC).

"Punjab has undertaken a lot of interesting administrative reforms. The good news is that we are increasing applications of Aadhaar," Nilekani, who held meetings here with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and later with PGRC chairman Dr Pramod Kumar, told Hindustan Times.

"Now, the focus is on the use of the cards (UIDAI) in the public distribution system and for services which the Punjab has started," he said. According to Nilekani, increasing the ambit of applications of this card will be the thrust area.

The UIDAI, a central agency involved in implementing the Aadhaar scheme, a unique identification project. The authority is providing a unique identification number to all citizens for efficient delivery of welfare services. It is expected to act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programmes and schemes of the government.

The Punjab government, which has covered about 1 crore of the 2.77-crore population (nearly 40%) under Aadhaar, assured Nilekani that by March 2013, every citizen of the state would have the Aadhaar card.

During the meeting between Nilekani and Dr Kumar, the issue of converging Aadhaar with various administrative reforms undertaken by the state government was discussed at length. Nilekani was appreciative of the governance reforms in which, for example, self-declaration by citizens has been implemented for services such as area residence proof, domicile certificate and for getting land records.

"The convergence of Aadhaar with self-declaration is a logical outcome of the governance reforms initiatives in Punjab," Dr Kumar said. "The elimination of affidavits and introduction of self-declaration by citizens symbolises the trust of the government in its citizens."

Nilekani has asked the PGRC to prepare a detailed note about linking the Aadhaar scheme with governance reforms initiatives, particularly self-declarations by citizens. He said such reforms should also be adopted by other states to ensure prompt and hassle-free delivery of administrative services to people in a transparent manner.

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