The Home Ministry and Planning Commission have locked horns in a big battle over which organisation will carry out the bio-metric collections for the ambitious Unique Identification Number project.
While Home Minister P. Chidambaram has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking an early meeting of Cabinet to take a “final decision”, the Home Secretary R.K. Singh has said that till the decision is taken “this impasse will continue”.
The Home Ministry has expressed strong objection to the proposal of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to extend the mandate for collection of data beyond the limit of 20 crore enrolments.
The Ministry wants a clear decision as to which organisation will carry out a bio-metric collection in the field, a letter written by Singh to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth said.
However, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today threw his full weight behind the UIDAI saying the project should continue.
“In our view, it should continue. This can be done, parallel with whatever others (Home Ministry) are doing.
Whatever UIDAI is doing is the right thing to do and it should be continued”, he said.
Mr. Chidambaram wrote a strong letter to the Prime Minister urging him to instruct the Planning Commission to immediately bring a note to the Cabinet so that a final decision could be taken in the matter.
“In my respectful submission, it would not be in the interest of the Government to allow the controversy to be played out in the media,” he said in the letter.
Mr. Ahluwalia said that Commission has sent a cabinet note and hoped that it would come up before the Cabinet on Wednesday.