The Centre has given a major fillip to its ambitious Unique Identity project for citizens, by proposing a Rs. 1,900 cr. budgetary allocation for it, a nearly 16-fold increase.
Part of this would be used to fund an incentive of Rs. 100 for every enrolled person below poverty line.
The project headed by Nandan Nilekani was allocated Rs. 120 crore in the last budget.
Welcoming the allocation, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI) said it would help build technology and implementation infrastructure and establish its operations in time to start issuing UID numbers to residents by August 2011.
Part of the budget of 2010-11 would be spent on one-time expenditures in building the technology infrastructure — in terms of building secure biometric, network, storage and search solutions in the UID central database, and in the registrar systems, UIAI said in a statement.
It pointed out that the 13th Finance Commission also recommended that an incentive of Rs. 100 per person would encourage people below the poverty line to register for the UID and the State governments may accordingly receive money to provide such incentives during the UID enrolment. The Authority said the budget allocation was in line with the government’s mandate to expand spending on India’s welfare schemes and to improve the delivery of the country’s flagship social schemes, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
The UIDAI said its approach of enabling multiple registrars across the country to simultaneously clean up their databases through the central UID system was an efficient way to eliminate leakages from individual registrar databases. “The resulting savings from implementing the UID system for the government will be substantial, eliminating leakages which now cost the public exchequer substantial amount of the money spent on welfare programs,” the statement added.
The UIDAI has already issued tenders for an application software development, maintenance and support agency and for the supply, installation and commissioning of biometric devices for resident enrolment. The UIDAI was established under the aegis of the Planning Commission for which a notification was issued in January last year.
The Authority will soon release an estimate on where the allocated funds will be spent, and also publish a full accounting of the amount spent in financial year 2010.