Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday rejected reports of a tussle between his Ministry and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
In fact, the Union government, he said, was contemplating incorporating ‘Aadhaar,' a unique number issued by the UIDAI, in the Resident Identity Card (RIC) issued under the National Population Register (NPR) programme to make the RIC more useful and comprehensive.
Mr. Chidambaram was speaking at a function at Pattipulam, a fishermen's hamlet near Mamallapuram in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. He distributed RICs on the occasion.
The RIC is a smart card with a 64-kb microprocessor chip. It is to be issued to 75 lakh eligible people out of around 1.20 crore living in 3,331 coastal hamlets in nine States and four Union Territories.
Mr. Chidambaram said the primary objective of issuing unique identity numbers to Indian citizens was to ensure that benefits extended under various welfare schemes reached the intended beneficiaries.
“At present, bogus entries can be made in lists of beneficiaries under education assistance scheme, etc. Financial assistance to poor students is swindled by certain institutions by producing bogus lists. Once the ‘Aadhaar' is included in the RIC, the real beneficiary student alone can withdraw the amount credited in his bank account,” he said.
The NPR and the issuance of ‘Aadhaar' were two different programmes, Mr. Chidambaram said. While the RIC would comprise all details and fingerprints of the card holder, ‘Aadhaar' would be nothing but a mere number.
Registrar General and Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli said there were plans to take up NPR (Country) programme after completion of the ongoing NPR (Coastal) programme, where fishermen living in coastal hamlets would be issued with RICs by March nex .
Kancheepuram MP P. Viswanathan; the Deputy Director-General (NPR), office of Registrar General and Census Commissionerate, S.K. Chakarabarti; Tamil Nadu Census Director S. Gopalakrishnan and others participated in the function.