The first set of 16-digit unique identification numbers for citizens of the country will roll out by August or December 2010, said Nandan Nilekani, chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
He said States could prepare their data in about six months for blending with the unique identification numbers (UID) programme, launched as a social security card to serve all purposes as in the U.S. Centres would be opened for people to enrol and get their UID numbers.
Speaking to the media after meeting Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and interacting with Chief Secretary P. Ramakanth Reddy here on Wednesday, Mr. Nilekani said initially the programme would not be mandatory for the States but they would start accepting it once the leakages began coming down.
He said the programme would be implemented in Andhra Pradesh on a pilot basis as the State had emerged as a role model in using information technology. He cited how the government had covered 5 crore of the 8 crore population with ration cards, disbursed pensions to 7 million and implemented the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act, all using biometric technology, as examples. A regional office of the UIDAI would be established at Hyderabad.
The UID programme would not exclude the identity cards already issued by State governments but would take care to avoid duplication. He declined to indicate the cost of the project saying it was too early to do so.