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India UID Project – Revisited

By on Nov 14, 2009 | 7 comments

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I’ve been following almost every news that appears in newspapers or on the Internet ever since the news broke out. I was surprized why Mr. Nilekani [Infosys CoFounder] was selected to be the head of this project. No, I’m not saying Mr. Nilekani is not the right man to handle the project; but I’m thinking, why him? Apparently, the project involves lot of technology stuff and that’s why the choice was made.

Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to find out the official website for this project. If you have the link, please let me know through the comment. I’d really like to find out the team working on it, their goals, time line, current efforts, budget, way of implementation, expectations from residents of India etc. Mr. Nilekani will be assisted by Mr. R.S Sharma, an IAS Officer of Jharkhand Government cadre as the Director General and Mission Director of the Authority. He is known for his best effort in e-Governance project for Jharkhand State and working as an IT secretary he received a number of awards for best Information Technology Trends State in India.

For few months I believed that the ambitious UID project isn’t a ‘tech-heavy’ project at all. The goal of this project, as stated in Wikipedia is as follows –

It is believed that Unique National IDs will help address the rigged state elections, widespread embezzlement that affects subsidies and poverty alleviation programs such as NREGA. Addressing illegal immigration into India and terrorist threats is another goal of the program.

I’m wondering why we need another identity when we already have Passport Numbers system in place. It just needs to be scaled and with few changes it can very well be used as our Identity. There are PAN numbers which are unique too. Someone needs to address this big “WHY UID?” question in public.

…and its very important. Because the estimated budget for this project is between $6 billion – $30 billion 😯 ! That’s HUGE money! It would be really great to see how Mr. Nilekani’s team goes about implementing this while fighting with bureaucracy, corruption, red tapism etc.

The question that needs to be answered is – Do we really need a UID?


  1. durga

    November 14, 2009

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    I thought PAN was only for employed janta.
    is it not? Then I have same question as yours, else this might be a whole population counter and registration types??

  2. Sapna

    November 20, 2009

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    Exactly my point. Why another UID project? Changes to any existing IDs like PAN Card, Passport, Voter’s ID…. can be modified to give a unique ID.

    PAN Card has already become the de facto standard.

    Since Mr.Nilekani and R S Sharma are heading the project we can hope the billions are put to good use

  3. Simon

    January 25, 2010

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    PAN ID is in no way comparable to UID. UID Covers all the citizens of India. Ultimately, connects the WHOLE WORLD !!!

  4. saurabh

    May 11, 2010

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    We may take privacy to be the state of being free from unsanctioned intrusion into one’s personal life. It is a value that is embodied in human rights, national laws and diverse regulations. ID-technology gives rise to the possibility of the misuse (real or perceived) of personal biometric information for gainful intrusion. Examples of known misuses are surveillance videos of vehicle licence plates being used to record license plates to blackmail people, to stalk women and to track estranged spouses. In some cases it has been police officers who have been guilty of these offences.

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