Government today sanctioned funds for the second phase of the ambitious scheme to allocate unique identity numbers to 10 crore of the country’s population.

The Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the commencement of Phase II of the scheme at an estimated cost of Rs. 3023.01 crore.

“Of this, an amount of Rs. 477.11 crore would be towards recurring establishment expenditure and Rs. 2,545.90 crore would be towards non-recurring project related expenditure,” an official spokesperson said.

The estimated cost includes project components for issue of 10 crore unique identity (UID numbers by March 2011 and recurring establishment costs for the entire project phase of five years ending March 2014.

The first set of 10 crore UID numbers are expected to be issued between August 2010 and March 2011. Thereafter, 600 million UID numbers are expected to be issued within the next three years. The UID project would provide unique numbers to all residents of India.

The UIDAI proposes to collect the demographic and biometric attributes of residents through various agencies of the Central and the State Governments and others who, in normal course of their activities, interact with the residents.

The UID project, established last year, is primarily aimed at ensuring inclusive growth by providing a form of identity to those who do not have any identity. It seeks to provide UID numbers to the marginalised sections of society and thus would strengthen equity, an official release said.

Apart from providing identity, the UID will enable better delivery of services and effective governance.

The Phase 1 of the scheme comprised setting up necessary infrastructure for offices at headquarters and regional headquarters, creating testing facilities for running the pilots and proof of concept (PoC) experiments, initial work of creating standards in various areas of operations.

Setting up of a project management unit and hiring of consultants for preparation of Detailed Project Reports for various components of the project also formed part of the first phase of the project.

The Phase I proposal was approved in November 2009.

The UIDAI has since established its Headquarters at New Delhi and six out of the eight Regional Offices.

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