Ranjana Sonawne: 782474317884. With this number, Ranjana has become the first Indian to get the UID (Unique Identification). Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Allaince Chairperson Sonia Gandhi launched the Aadhar project on Wednesday and presented UIDs to ten people here.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chief, Nandan Nilekani, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Maharashtra Governor K. Shankaranarayanan, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia were also present at the inauguration function of project held outside Tembhli village, and was attended by over 1 lakh residents from the area.

Hailing the UID as the way to create and retain ‘identity' among all Indians, Ms. Gandhi said, “With this, Tembhli has got a special importance in the map of India. People of Tembhli will lead the rest of the country. It is a historic step towards strengthening the people of our nation.”

Stating that the UID will help people in ‘all fields,' Ms. Gandhi stated: “Our idea is to not just focus on development, but to bring about inclusive growth amongst our people. This scheme will make sure people will get what they deserve.”

“Starting from this tiny hamlet, the scheme will reach more than a billion people of this country.”

Rajiv Gandhi's faith that Information and Technology could be used to make lives better has been proven today, she stated.

Dr. Singh congratulated the UIDAI and said, “UID will help the hundreds of people in India, whose pride was hurt for so many years because of the lack of an identity. This will be their source of recognition from now on.”

Making life easy

He clarified that the UID number will now enable them to open bank accounts without any hassle, get ration anywhere in the country and to get job cards, among other facilities.

“Nandurbar was chosen because this is a symbol that this scheme will first benefit the tribals and the needy people in this country,” he said.

Dr. Singh also stated that this scheme, made for the common man, makes use of the latest technology. “Before this, no other country has made use of such technology at such a large scale.”

Maharashtra will be the first State to get the UIDs, the rest of the country will get them within a span of four years.

Villagers were told that this number will enable all government schemes to reach them, and will help them in all day-to-day activities.

But for the 1400 people from Ranjana village who got their UIDs on Wednesday, as long as there are no immediate benefits, nothing makes sense. There are 432 BPL families, but not all have cards, it is learnt.

Arvind Sonawne, 18, went to meet Ms. Gandhi in Tembhli and told her that the village had got facilities only because she was coming. “I said the good work should continue even after you have left. None of the schemes reach the village. People are forced to go to Gujarat to look for work. She said yes, the work will continue. People will not to go anywhere. Now let's see what happens,” he told The Hindu.

Later in the day, there was a mad rush to collect ration from the local PDS shop. The village which barely had a road till this function, has no school and the water tank is newly built and painted.

Even the nearest school at Shahada taluka is four kilometers away.

Jalubai Thackarey is well aware of all this. Even though elated that she got to meet Sonia Mai, she says she needs a pukka house. “She didn't say, but I know she will give us houses. Only this card cannot do anything,” she stated.

“We have to sleep with hunger, there are no jobs in our village,” Ranjana tells The Hindu after her three seconds of fame with the Prime Minister on the stage.

Behind her, the freshly painted slogans on the walls in Tembhli village tell everyone that getting jobs will be made easier with the UID.