‘Next decade belongs to ID number’

Mar 17 2010, 13:57 IST
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SummaryThe Unique Identification Number will empower the common man, says Nilekani.

The Unique Identification Number will bring in mobility, choice, transparency and accountability at the doorsteps of the common man, UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani has said.

The Infosys co-founder, who now heads the government's ambitious Unique Identification Aut1hority of India, said the UID is a scheme for the marginalised people of the country.

He said the slogan of 'bijli, sadak, pani' which talks about the need for development would now be taken over by a new catch phrase seeking bank account, mobile numbers and Unique Identification Number.

The 16-digit unique number, which is likely to be rolled out by next year, would be a fundamental part of the next decade, he said.

Nilekani, who was speaking at a summit here organized by the Skoch foundation, said talks are already on with various government departments and all state governments for bringing them on board on the project which aims to give a unique number to all residents of the country.

Talking about public partnership in the project, he said it was very crucial and the public can volunteer for the project and can even work with it on a sabbatical.

"We are in talks with everyone including major industries like mobile companies, banks and everyone interested," he said.

Nilekani said from the slogan of "roti, kapada, makaan" (food, clothing, shelter) in the 1960s and 1970s, India grew to the slogan of "bijli, sadak, pani" (electricity, roads, water) in the last 8-10 years.

"I think, in the next ten years, it would be bank account, mobile number and UID. All these are abstract ideas but they are tools for empowerment, access and opportunity," he said.

He said the UID number would give hundreds of millions of Indians, who have no means to prove their identity in the absence of birth certificates and education certificates, an opportunity to access services and benefits that they are entitled to.

Nilekani also said that the UID number would enable the Government to target its rural employment, food and education programmes to their beneficiaries by identifying them in a robust way and remove duplication.

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