Karnataka to Get UID by 2011

by CXOtoday Staff    Jan 14, 2010

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which will be running a pilot UID project in Karnataka, is expected to complete the process by 2012 making Karnataka the first state to issue a unique ID number for each citizen.

The UIDA is expected to begin issuing numbers by February 2011.

IT companies, including IBM, TCS, Wipro, Intel, HP, HCL and Sun Microsystems, are understood to have signed agreements with the state government for the UID project, which is reportedly earmarked at Rs 1,800 crore.

The project, headed by Nandan Nilekani, has been holding discussions with various state governments, banks and financial institutions, and government and private agencies. Reports indicate that several PSUs like ITI, Bharat Electronics and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd have also been short listed for the project.
 
The pilot project in Karnataka will be carried out by the Department of e-governance. The main task of this body will be to recognize rural and urban districts and arrange for the database for these.
 
Some of the companies such as Intel are keen on being associated with the project. Biometrics — that includes fingerprint, face and iris recognition and computing power — hold the key to the UID project. The project will offer opportunity for computing, database, smartcard and storage vendors, besides systems integrators. For every rupee of IT spend on the UID project, industry experts estimate, around 60% of the spending will go to hardware vendors.

The project will cover nearly 60-70% of citizens in Karnataka within this period. M. N. Vidyashankar, principal secretary, Department of e-governance, Government of Karnataka, as well as the nodal officer of the UID project, said that a majority of Karnataka s population will be covered by UID by the end of 2011.
 
The state government is in the process of setting up an empowered committee which will take all state-level decisions with regards to UID implementation. The UIDA is on a fast track and the empowered committee is being set up to expedite decision making, said Vidyashankar. The committee is likely to be headed by the chief secretary.
 
Boosted by the success of its e-governance projects like Bhoomi and Kaveri, the Karnataka state government is looking at an investment line-up of Rs 400-450 crore till March 2010, which is double of its e-governance spend last year.

S. Sadagopan, head of IIIT, Bangalore, said in his weblog that interestingly Karnataka has been chosen as the state to pilot this prestigious UID project. "Karnataka has many high quality large size databases (those Below Poverty Line (BPL), farmers, women etc). It will be interesting to see this project evolve over the years."
 
Under its Bangalore One project, which aims to bring government-citizen interactions under a single umbrella, the government is increasing the number of centres from 56 to 100 by December 2009 and spreading the initiative to other parts of state under the title Karnataka One . It is also setting up a second data centre by June 2010. 

The UID project is one of the most-awaited projects of the UPA government in India. Nilekani has been appointed as the head of this project. The main target of this project is to make sure that the facilities given by the government to its citizens reaches the grass- root level in the society or the common man.
 
Under this program, each citizen of India will get a unique identity card, which the citizen can use as a proof for Indian citizenship, address proof and also as an ID proof accepted throughout India in all government and private offices.

The UID will not only contain the photo of the citizen, but it will also have the finger prints for biometric recognition and also a unique identification number. This UID will be given to all citizens, including the citizens who come under 18 years of age. The broad idea is to get all the births, deaths, marriages, passport data, bank account data, ration card data into one database. This will help all these offices to just tap into the central database as and when required and update their accounts.

The UIDA will be responsible for laying down the plans for establishing the database, maintenance of the UID database, which is not a small one. As the Indian population reaches 108 crore, it will not be an easy job for the UIDA to maintain the database. The government is going to spend a huge amount for this project apart from the database related expenses and the data storage.