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India gives globe tips on UID

Nandan Nilekani's unique identification project is yet to take-off fully in India but it has created an international buzz.

delhi Updated: Feb 20, 2012 01:34 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

The unique identification project is yet to take off fully in India, but it has created an international buzz.

A number of countries have shown interest in the project, which now consists of the world's largest biometric database of 13 crore people, surpassing the US immigration department's database of 11.4 crore people.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is assisting the government of Papua New Guinea, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean close to Australia, in starting a national identity scheme. Two UIDAI officials — deputy director general BB Nanawati and additional director general Anup Kumar — spent a week there this January to guide the country's government in providing biometric identity to its residents.

Papua New Guinea's high commissioner in New Delhi E Tarcisius said the project will help track students and will be part of the country's inclusive growth strategy. "We haven't had any identification programme so far," he said.

The authority had also provided inputs to Mauritius, Australia, Indonesia, France and Columbia on the project.

The UIDAI has enrolled a million people every day, but only four crore Indians have got their Aadhaar numbers because of the postal department's constraints in dispatching them.

RS Sharma, director general of the UIDAI, said collecting biometric details of over a billion people for just $3 (Rs 150) per person is unimaginable for many. The same cost 130 Euro (Rs 8,500) per person in the UK.

"The magnitude and the flawlessness of the project have caught the attention of people worldwide. They now say biometric collection has three phases — pre-9/11, post-9/11 and post-UIDAI," Sharma told HT.

First Published: Feb 18, 2012 19:34 IST