Nandan Nilekani to head national identity card project


New Delhi : The government Thursday appointed Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman of software giant Infosys, as the chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority — constituted to provide identity cards to Indian citizens.

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Nilekani, who has been given the rank and status of a cabinet minister, will step down from the Infosys board.

“This is a project of national importance. This is something which he (Nilekani) would like to take up,” said Infosys chief executive and managing director S. Gopalakrishnan.

UID is an entity under the Planning Commission.

Under the programme, unique identification cards would be provided to citizens by 2011. In the beginning, it will be assigned to all voters by building on current electoral roll data.

“It will work in coordination with the National Population Register of the home ministry through the Registrar General of the Census, in accordance with the Indian Citizenship Act,” the government said in a statement.

“This would not only address security related issues but is also aimed at establishing citizenship, reducing identity related frauds and also prevent leakages in different government schemes,” it said.

Added Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia: “This will be a very superior card. This would really help all of us. We would start testing these on a pilot basis in a year.”

The card will help citizens avail basic government services like driving licenses, passports and voters identity cards.