Denial of funds not a setback, says Nilekani


New Delhi : Unique Identity Authority chairman Nandan Nilekani Thursday said that the finance ministry’s decision to deny more funds to the authority was not a setback.

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The finance ministry has declined the Nilekani-led Unique Identity Authority’s (UIDAI) demand to allow it to collect biometric data for the entire population from the earlier mandated 200 million. To meet the task, the UIDAI had asked that its outlay be increased to close to Rs.18,000 crore.

The current outlay is about Rs.3,023 crore.

At the first anniversary of Aadhaar launch, Nilekani, however, said the rejection was not a setback.

“One of our biggest supporters, the finance minister has been extremely gracious and supportive, and he has always sent me the message that we should do this as fast as we can,” Nilekani told reporters at the first anniversary of Aadhaar launch.

“What the finance ministry has done is that essentially they had said that you can enrol up to 200 million and beyond 200 million the cabinet has to decide what the exact modality will be. We have absolutely no issues and we have got fantastic support from the finance ministry,” he added.

Speaking about the enrolments, Nilekani said that the 12-digit unique identity number — Aadhar — has been provided to 37 million people across the country and very soon over one million people will enrol for unique identity number every day.

The organisation is also planning to come up with a system to enable applicants to call and get prior appointments before coming to the registration centres to avoid chaos.

“The software is ready and we will roll out the service in a weeks time, first in Delhi and then in other places as well,” said R.S. Sharma, director general and mission director, UIDAI.