TN plans unique number for each state resident

Updated on Dec 30, 2022 01:19 AM IST

Chief minister M K Stalin had during the assembly sessions spoken of data-centric governance and the TNeGA department is responsible for driving all technology initiatives for the state Government. The data would be available in English and Tamil

The plan for a unique individual number for each resident of Tamil Nadu is to use data to ensure that the state’s welfare schemes reach only eligible beneficiaries by identifying and verifying them. (ANI)
The plan for a unique individual number for each resident of Tamil Nadu is to use data to ensure that the state’s welfare schemes reach only eligible beneficiaries by identifying and verifying them. (ANI)

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu e-governance agency (TNeGA) conducted a pre-bid meeting on Thursday as the state government is looking to build tools to create a unique individual number for each resident of the state, called Makkal (people) ID, under its larger project for a state family database (SFDB), officials said.

“Each resident should be provided with a unique individual ID known as Makkal ID,” reads the tender document. “Makkal ID should be generated as random numbers and not as a pattern-based number with encoded information or alphanumeric string.”

The TNeGA had issued a tender for the selection of a “system integrator” to implement and maintain a “master data management (MDM) and de-duplication tool” for the SFDB project. A resident/beneficiary data platform will be the core of the project, which will be the single source of resident data for Tamil Nadu.

As of now, the state government has a database of 70 million ration card holders who are enrolled in the public distribution system (PDS). Each of the departments of the state government has its own applications and associated databases so the selected system integrator is expected to compare all those databases against the PDS data and assign a Makkal ID, so that data exchange across these databases is seamless.

The plan is to use data to ensure that the state’s welfare schemes reach only eligible beneficiaries by identifying and verifying them. Finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Raja had said earlier this January that the government had found several discrepancies in the welfare schemes, such as deceased persons continuing to receive old age pension and the monthly allocation of rice in the PDS.

Chief minister M K Stalin had during the assembly sessions spoken of data-centric governance and the TNeGA department is responsible for driving all technology initiatives for the state Government. The data would be available in English and Tamil.

Makkal ID would be based on popular ID models and the number would be anywhere between 10 and 12 digits so that there are enough numbers for the current and future population of Tamil Nadu, officials said. The last digit of the ID is reserved as a “checksum” digit to eliminate data entry errors. “The randomness of the number will make it difficult to guess the number,” the tender said. “The logic for identifying a duplicate depends on completeness, accuracy, integrity of the people’s data being ingested. The additional identifier data like Aadhaar number, ration card number and such captured in the participating database could also be used to find an appropriate match.”

Information technology minister Mano Thyagarajan and TNeGA CEO Praveen Nair did not respond to calls and messages.

Current affairs commentator Sumanth Raman said that the project does not make sense. “Maybe the aim of the DMK government through Makkal ID is to undermine Aadhaar,” Raman said. “If each state started having a parallel ID and a parallel authentication system delinked to Aadhaar, it would be chaotic.”

For assigning the Makkal ID for existing beneficiaries, a one-time process of deduplication will be carried out. The matches will be classified as the perfect matches and probable matches. For the perfect matches – for which the Makkal ID will be automatically assigned and for probable matches – a system will be available to look into it further.

Tools and techniques will be implemented to identify each person based on their name, father’s name, mother’s name, date of birth and gender. “We may use additional attributes like personal identifiers, address and mobile number for disambiguation,” the tender read.

TNeGA is inviting proposals from companies who specialise in the domain of big data, open source technologies, data analytics, data warehousing, and master data management solutions. “Further functionalities for this platform like reporting and analytics should be built using open source technology as far as possible,” the tender reads. The technical bids will be opened on January 9.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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