Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PM meets senior ministers to sort out UID project

In order to resolve the issue of continuation of UID project, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday held discussions with senior Cabinet colleagues.

Dr. Singh will call a Cabinet meeting on Friday to take final call on extension of the UIDAI project, under which national identity cards are issued to entire population.

"I think we have come to an agreement on how both the projects can proceed together without any difficulty ... the Cabinet Committee (on UIDAI) was rescheduled and will happen on Friday. We are quite hopeful that we will have a resolution of these issues in that meeting," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said in New Delhi after the meeting.

Besides Ahluwalia, Wednesday's meeting was attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani and National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon.

"We are moving towards very satisfactory conclusion. There were different views ... We reviewed different issues", Ahluwalia said, adding the Home Ministry's National Population Register (NPR) project for constructing digital database of residents could continue along with UIDAI.

"I think that there is agreement that both the projects can move ahead and ways can be found that will avoid avoidable duplication. That was the key issue. I will send the supplementary note (to Cabinet)", he added.

At the centre of the controversy is the collection of bio-metric data of all residents.

While the Home Ministry has maintained that the Registrar General of India (RGI) under it has been mandated to collect the data through the NPR, the Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI has also been authorised to gather the information.

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