Fingerprinting or iris scan during 2011 census for UID scheme

Fingerprinting or iris scan during 2011 census for UID scheme

New Delhi: The upcoming 2011 census will see the government capturing all your 10 fingerprints or do an iris scan for the National Population Register that will come in handy for the ambitious Unique Identification Number (UID) project.

The UID scheme, which is expected to roll out the first number in 12-18 months, will be first conferred on the beneficiaries of the the centre’s flagship programme under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

But the specific 16-digit number, which will be unique to an individual, will not confer on anyone any rights including citizenship, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani said.

He said “several thousand crore" will be required to fund the scheme but details of who exactly will do the financing are yet to be finalised. He dismissed reports that the project would cost about 1.5 lakh crore.

The UID is a concept designed mainly as an inclusive scheme for the benefit of the poor and the marginalised and for better targeting of anti-poverty and developmental programmes which are now plagued by inadequacies like duplicate and anonymous beneficiaries, he said in an interview to PTI.

Nilekani said a biometrics committee under the leadership of Dr B K Gairola, Director General of National Informatics Centre, has been set up which will figure out the options.

“These are all designs choices that we will freeze in the next 3-4 months," he said.

Talking about the project, Nilekani said the UID number will give an identity to all people, especially the poor and marginalised and will help curb duplication of people in various development schemes of the government besides those who avail subsidies.

He said the task is very challenging as the largest database in the United States of this kind is of 120 million people and here it is about 1.2 billion people.

Nilekani said the first phase of the UID would roll out in about 18-24 months and his office aims to cover 600 million people in the next four years after that.