An ambitious project for the government of India headed by Nandan Nilekani (was Infosys co-Chairman and now chairman for the Unique Identification Authority of India) is all set for roll out tomorrow. The 12 digit unique identification number is much like the Social Security Number for US residents. The scale and certain details are different though.
Christened ‘Aadhaar’ which is Hindi for ‘foundation’ the system will use biometric data – fingerprints and iris scans to associate the unique number to the individuals. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will officially launch the service on September 29th with villagers of Nandurbar district in Maharashtra being the first Indian citizens to get the numbers.
Aadhaar’s logo has been designed by Atul Sudhakarrao Pande from Mumbai and was selected through a nation-wide competition (democracy #WIN?) The logo is a finger print with sun rays.
While the idea of Aadhaar is the same as a Social Security Number in the US, however unlike the SSN, a UID is NOT mandatory as of now. The database for the project will be collated at two levels through central and state government entities:
- State Level: Departments of Rural Development and Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs
- Central Level: Banks, Life Insurance Companies
The UID project has attracted some of the biggest tech companies vying to be a part of the effort to provide the technical expertise required.