New Delhi, Jun 7 (PTI): The government on Thursday directed the Unique Identification Authority of India to accept the biometric data collected by Registrar-General of India under the Home Ministry to give unique ID number to every citizen.
The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet here, a top government source told PTI.
The move came a week after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining that RGI's National Population Register project is “almost at a standstill” due to the refusal of Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI to accept the NPR data for de-duplication and generation of Aadhaar numbers.
This was for the second time that Chidambaram took up at the highest level the issue of capturing the biometric data of the population by UIADI and its alleged non- cooperation with the RGI project.
The UIDAI comes under the nodal authority of the Planning Commission.
In January last, the Planning Commission and the Home Ministry had been locked in a tussle over the unique identification number project and both of them have taken the issue to the Prime Minister for a solution, which led to a temporary truce under which UIADI had promised to accept the NPR data.
“Despite directions from the government, the UIDAI is objecting to the conduct of the NPR camps in certain states and is also refusing to accept the biometric data of NPR for de-duplication and generation of Aadhaar numbers,” Chidambaram wrote in his latest letter to the Prime Minister.
The Home Minister said he had taken up the issue with UIDAI chairman Nilekani and Home Secretary R K Singh took up the issue with Director General and Mission Director, UIDAI.
“However, despite our best efforts the issues remain unresolved....the MHA is keen to complete the NPR project in two years as announced by the Finance Minister in his Budget speech. This would be possible only if there is complete cooperation from all stakeholders, especially the UIDAI and the state governments,” he said.
Government had taken a number of important decisions concerning internal security after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. One of these was that the NPR project would be taken up in selected coastal villages on a priority basis and then rolled out in a phased manner in all coastal villages and towns as part of the measures to enforce coastal security.
Subsequently, the government decided to implement this project across the country.
The status of the project as on date is that the coastal NPR project has been completed to a large extent and the data required for the rest of the country has been collected along with Census 2011 and digitization of the same is proceeding at a rapid pace.
“However, regrettably the collection of photographs and biometrics has been facing hurdles at every step on account of the approach of the UIDAI which, it seems, has failed to appreciate the core purpose of NPR,” Chidambaram said.
The UIDAI had initially been given the mandate to cover 10 crore population. This was subsequently raised to 20 crore.
When the matter of extending the mandate to covering the entire country had come up, the Home Ministry raised serious concerns about various aspects regarding the unsuitability of the UIDAI data from internal security point of view.
Considering the concerns, the government took a number of important decisions on January 27 this year regarding the implementation of the NPR and UIDAI projects.
The crux of the decision was that as the purpose of UIDAI and NPR are different, the two projects should proceed simultaneously and that each project would accept the biometric data collected by the other, without duplication.