The issue of bringing synergy between the database of the National Population Register and the biometric database of the Aadhaar project is “now before the Cabinet,” Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani has said.
Mr. Nilekani was reacting to questions by reporters here on Friday on the issues raised by Union Home Minister P.C. Chidambaram in a letter to the Prime Minister.
“There is a group that is now looking at merging the two. I cannot give you a timeframe for that,” Mr. Nilekani said.
Incidentally, on Friday, the UIDAI achieved a milestone by crossing the 12- crore mark in terms of the Aadhaar numbers generated across the country.
Mr. Nilekani was addressing the media at an interaction and “technology briefing” held to coincide with the occasion.
On the issues raised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, and their rejection of the UIDAI Bill, he said: “The committee has made some comments… the government will look into it, analyse it and take it to the Cabinet.”
He clarified that the UIDAI had collected data “following procedures laid down by the government, and its panel headed by N. Vittal.”
Director General and mission director of the UIDAI R.S. Sharma earlier said that critics were calling it a “private project.” He emphasised that it was a “sarkaari project” and the UIDAI had not “short-circuited or compromised any procedures in implementing this.”
The Home Ministry had compared the Registrar General of India's census registry, collected by officials, to the Aadhaar scheme where data was being recorded by “hired organisations.”
“We have partnered with certain private [entities], and this has even helped reduce the cost of the project. The global cost of de-duplication is pegged at Rs. 20 per biometric identity, but we have been able to bring down that cost to Rs. 2.75,” Mr. Sharma said.
Fresh data on Aadhaar and biometrics, released by the UIDAI on Friday, pegged the failure rate of enrolment at 0.14 per cent. The study was a result of an accuracy test conducted on 8.4 crore enrolments. The failure negative identification rate (failure to identify duplicate or fake enrolments), was pegged at 0.035, UIDAI officials said.
These figures are part of a larger report on Biometrics and Accuracy, which will be released by the UIDAI in February.