Chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani on Tuesday held meetings with key officials of the West Bengal government in a bid to take forward the project which will give every Indian citizen a unique identification number. The project has entered its operational stage and the numbers are expected to be given by early 2011.

State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen told journalists at the Secretariat that memoranda of understanding would be signed between the UID and the various State governments for enlisting the infrastructure support that would be necessary for implementing the project.

He said the project would give every citizen a UID card and a number based on the name, address, parent's name and biometric details such as finger print and iris impressions.

DG Police Bhupinder Singh later said this would be a revolutionary project although it was a very huge task and also a very futuristic one. However, no police verification would be made as in passport issuance while giving these numbers, he said. Mr. Singh was hopeful that the UID number would bring the curtains down on duplication, fraud and ghost ration cards and would help plug leakages in the system

In November, 2009 West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee received a letter from the Prime Minister's Office on the UID Scheme, which was launched by the UPA government soon after it came to power for a second term.

The letter urged Mr. Bhattacharjee to expedite matters in respect of the UID project which had been launched under the Social Security Mission of the Central government The card was meant to be a single point identification for a citizen, who now has to grapple with multiple such cards and numbers for various purposes.

The letter said two committees needed to be set up. One would be under the Chief Minister and another under the Chief Secretary of the State. The State needed to prepare data for blending with the UIDAI's data base. The 2010-11 budget had allocated Rs. 1,900 crore for the project.

Among those present at the meeting with Mr. Nilekani were the City Police Commissioner, the Director-General of Police, the Home Secretary and 16 departmental secretaries.

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