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We have your number

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One and a half years after the first Unique IDentity number was handed out, the standoff between the planning commission’s Aadhar scheme and the home ministry’s National Population Register has been resolved by the cabinet, reports Deccan Herald:

The Cabinet on Thursday decided that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) shall issue Aadhar or unique ID numbers (UID) to citizens based on the biometric data generated by the Registrar General of India (RGI).

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too wrote to the chief ministers of 16 states and union territories on Thursday regarding the rollout of Aadhaar-enabled payments to beneficiaries of various Central Government Schemes.

Aadhaar platform is now ready to support payments under various schemes directly to the beneficiaries’ accounts in select areas, Mukherjee said.

However, HT reports that the decision carves up India into two zones:

On the dispute regarding duplication of work in capturing biometric details of citizens under the UID and National Population Register (NPR), the UIDAI director general said UID is responsible for 14 states and four union territories ( Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Chandigarh, Delhi, Daman and Puducherry) while the NPR has been mandated to undertake enrolments in the remaining 14 states and three UTs (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep).

“While being enrolled for NPR, if a resident informs (the official concerned) that he has already enrolled for Aadhar, his biometric will not be collected again,’’ Sharma said.

This article also reported that

Speaking on enrolment in the northern region, [UID Director General R. S.] Sharma said there was 56 % enrolment in Himachal Pradesh, 62 % in Chandigarh, 38 % in Punjab and 8 % in Haryana. Regarding the low percentage of enrolment in Haryana, Sharma said the enrolment in Haryana was slow as the public distribution system (PDS) of the smart card project has been linked with unique identification number.

“We have completed 20-crore enrolments nationwide. About 17.5-crore Aadhars have been generated and 14 crore dispatched. As far as Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh are concerned, we plan to complete the enrolment of the entire population by February 2013,” Sharma said.

So that means about 100 crore Indians remain to be registered. However, new schemes to use Aadhar are already popping up. ET reports:

The Union home ministry plans to link its crime records with the Aadhar unique identity project, signaling a reversal in its hostile stance towards the Nandan Nilekani-led Unique Identity Authority of India.

The home ministry’s 2,000-crore Crime and Criminal Tracking System project, which aims to create a central database of all crime records in the country, will have a provision for linking up with UID or Aadhar numbers, an official associated with managing the project said.

For example, the rural development ministry is planning to enlist UID numbers in the job cards for 12 crore beneficiaries under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).

Also, the income-tax department will collect UID numbers of people who apply for PAN cards.

Punjab, which is developing a mother and child tracking system under a state-level health project, plans to link it with UIDAI.

DNA reports the first results from the implementation of Aadhar:

Of the 50 districts in the country where Aadhaar will be implemented, five are from Maharashtra.

Though enrolments are currently voluntary, once Aadhaar comes into force, it will be mandatory to quote the number while drawing salaries in government jobs and investing in government schemes and while making electronic payments. Those buying or dealing in property will be encouraged to use Aadhaar to prevent frauds.

“The number of the beneficiaries under the Sanjay Gandhi pension scheme has come down to 14,000 from 18,000 in Aurangabad once it became compulsory to use Aadhaar,” an IT department official said.

In Mumbai there were text messages sent out over mobile phones telling people that they can open a bank account using only the Aadhar information.

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