Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

Summary: In his book Imagining India: Ideas for the New Century, Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys, talks about how the future of India depends not just on simple economic growth, but also on reforms and innovations in all sectors of public life.Today, he has the rank equivalent to that of an Indian Cabinet Minister to put many innovative ideas to practice.

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In his book Imagining India: Ideas for the New Century, Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys, talks about how the future of India depends not just on simple economic growth, but also on reforms and innovations in all sectors of public life.

Today, he has the rank equivalent to that of an Indian Cabinet Minister to put many innovative ideas to practice.

A month after forming the new government, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has proved that he means business. Yesterday, his government announced that Nilekani would take over as chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Once implemented, the ambitious unique identification (UID) project would ensure each one of India's over 1.1 billion people have a unique biometric identity card.

"This demonstrates the commitment of the UPA government to fast-track the implementation of their election manifesto, which had UID as a key project," Som Mittal, president of software body Nasscom, said yesterday.

Nilekani has since resigned as co-chairman of Infosys, and was reportedly chosen by the PM himself.

Estimated to be worth nearly US$4 billion, the UID project will eventually become the basis of the Citizens Smart Card Project, recommended by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, which would enable citizens to avail of subsidies on food, energy, education, etc.

The appointment of Nilekani has a lot of bearing on the Indian IT industry. Here are some of my thoughts:

•  By appointing Nilekani, the government has signaled that public-private partnerships may well be the name of the game (at least, insofar as e-government projects are concerned). •  With Nilekani as its ambassador, the IT industry (and citizens) will look forward to speedier action on this project and smoother implementation. This should do a lot of good to the image of Indian IT. •  With Nilekani at the helm, India (in all probability) should have a state-of-the-art unique identification card program in place. •  This is a very critical project for India. It has significant transformational capabilities. If implemented soon and competently, this project can change the face of the country--by bringing about higher efficiencies and transparency, and reducing corruption (the biggest evil gripping Indian society today). •  This project can help reduce poverty by targeting schemes and subsidies toward those who really need it. •  The UID project will provide a huge database for planners to launch new schemes that can tackle several problems facing the country. •  If implemented properly, the UID can also bolster the country's security issues and curb terrorism and other threats to national security.

I think all Indians should now look forward to their unique ID cards and to days when we wouldn't have to stand in long queues, bribe officials and pay touts to get our work done. I hope it's not too early to imagine that India! Or is it, Mr. Nilekani?

Topics: Asean, CXO, India, Software Development, Software, Outsourcing, Government Asia, Government, Emerging Tech, Tech Industry

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10 comments
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  • Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    it will definitly reduce duplication and to that extent reduce corruption. .. i doubt about its universal coverage because of logistical nightmare in india.. secondly i doubt how much it can help in controlling security. there will legal challenges and ethical issues involved.
    anonymous
  • RE: Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    Yes,
    It will solve many problems of India.
    including terrorism,Unemployment,Unique Identity.
    The network for reading the UID card must be developed parallely for effective result of the project.
    ON lLINE & OFFLINE SOLUTION FOR reading the UID card IS AVAILABLE WITH ME with advance featutres.
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    Corruption is the only problem that we are facing to this date. My question is when they are trying to implement UID. Are they trying to make efforts to dispose Ration cards, Election cards etc. Otherwise it will be one more mean to just increase the burden on the system. I would suggest tht when the child is born by default he/she should be provided with UID and PAN No which will be interconnected.
    anonymous
  • Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    It is easier conceived than to implement such a process and the very wish to take up such a project is definitely a positive step by the UPA Government. What is more impressive that they have chosen probably the most suitable person available to execute the job. Diminishing terrorism through a card might never be reality as terrorism has roots further down and it probably needs a different approach. But surely it will create a huge effect on the innumerable unauthorized immigrant present in the country. I strongly believe this is a beginning of a new era and we as the citizen of this country are proud to see such a program gets the light.
    anonymous
  • RE: Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    Unique ID Cards are very much essential for Indians.
    we must have to support Mr Nilekani with timelines to complete the project.
    anonymous
  • RE: Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    Unique number is necessary. finger print + 16 digit number + pic should be stored in databases. this gives each finger print a number and corresponding face of that finger. if you go to some gov office they check your number and matches you with picture in their database but no need of physical id card. i just feel that you cant server people if you are not aware how many you are about to serve. like you can't determine quantity of food in your house if you dont know how many people are there in house.
    anonymous
  • Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    This project is definitely pro India and will leapfrog the administrative & management hurdles in the country. Referring to the comments in this blog, I do feel the integrating the Unique ID number with the PAN A/c no. would be beneficial in two ways:- 1. All bank accounts of individuals can be linked to the one PAN no. and monitored (and could curb corruption if need be). 2. All citizens of the nation would have to have basic education to use their bank accounts (reducing the illiteracy percentage). In fact, we could move to a stage where transactions would be solely done through banks (especially now that RBI has strengthened the online banking security). The concept of printing money and the nuisance created by fake currency notes can be totally eradicated. Of course, to get such a system in place would take ages but since we're starting off with the UID program, it may be worth it to "Begin with the end in mind".
    anonymous
  • RE: Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    Yes your point of view is correct. Uid number has great potential. Theres a Portal dedicated to UID number - http://uidnumber.org/uidcard
    anonymous
  • RE: Should India now look forward to unique ID cards?

    Very bad idea to have this system The Government can easily pin and frame any individual it wants by linking his uid to some mal act;
    Also imagine only the sheeple(people without any political power ) will be in the system the "netas"the babus and the BigWigs will be above the law and uid as now
    This UID project is a great trick to control the ordinary citizens There will be no redress for wrongly labelling your UID as a terrorist or loan defaulter once the label,it will be impossible to erase it
    RThink well before readily going like sheep to its slaughter Turkey voting for Christmas is what they will say in USA
    Nandan Nilekani may be a Tech Genius but he is a complete legal moron for his unfettered enthusiasm for this project someone should stop this self enslavement of the whole populace of an otherwise humanly dcent and wise nation of India
    anonymous
  • The project is very much pro India & may be necessary. But I think it is too futuristic for India which lacks even basic information security laws. Moreover the data will be stored in a centralized database. The individuals privacy rights awarded by Indian constitution are all but gone.
    Just think about it, someone may steal your UID & operate everything from your bank account to your taxation details & there is virtually nothing you can do against him even if he is caught ! Such fraud scams won't be too difficult in such cases as India is pretty notorious for data theft by foreign country professionals.
    amit039