The West Bengal government on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). State Home Secretary Samar Ghosh told reporters that this nationwide project would create unique identification for every citizen.
In March, Nandan Nilekani, UIDAI Chairman, held meetings with key officials of the government to take forward the project. The project has entered its operational stage and the first numbers are expected to be issued by early 2011.
The MoU is needed for enlisting the infrastructure support that would be necessary for implementing the project. The project would give a UID card and a number based on the name, address, parent's name and biometric details such as fingerprint and iris impressions. The State needs to prepare data which has to blend with UIDAI's data.
However, no police verification would be made, as in the case of issue of passports, while giving the card and the numbers. It is hoped that the UID number will end duplication, fraud and ghost ration cards and help plug leakages in the system. The card is meant to be a single-point identification for a citizen who now has to grapple with multiple cards.
The UID Scheme, which was launched by the second UPA government, was allocated Rs. 1,900 crore in the 2010-11 budget.
In November 2009, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee received a letter from the Prime Minister's Office urging him to expedite matters in respect of the project. The project has been launched under the Social Security Mission of the Union government.
The letter said that two committees would be needed to implement the project. One would be under the Chief Minister and another under the Chief Secretary.