Friday, February 26, 2010
Most awaited unique identification in the offing
Croak of annoyance gets high on citizen’s life while applying for a government job, passport, loans, asset registry, even a mere phone connection and almost everything private and government that demands lawfulness.
Nanadan Nilekani in a recent visit to state capital assured to provide identification number to 2.10 crore people of Chhattisgarh. Briefing about the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) he mentioned that the UIds would benefit people of all sectors to avail various mass-oriented schemes. “Yeah! this project will not only cost an arm and a leg rather an axe to grind but once it comes out well, the citizens are sure that would be a sigh of relief,” delighted a senior citizen in the capital.
What’s In The Bucket
Just like the globally unique finger and tongue print, the UId would add an invincible feature to citizens’ character. Soon after the gigantic task of enrolment is accomplished for initial users, demand for UIds would simultaneously hype among citizens for its uniqueness and requirement. Future scenario of 2011 depicts that UId would prove to be a life giver when it comes to making passport, driving license, opening a bank account or at the time of tax payment, pension collection, rashan, and government’s development services etc..
“Being ubiquitous and pervasive it will also help the authorities to check black money and result in higher tax collections”, highlighted Nilekani in a TV interview.
Reports also said that about 600 million of about 1.2 billion population will be covered under the project in the next five years, so it would take not days, months or a year but ‘Years’ to reach the tail of population. “Let’s be optimistic this time as the costly project of national importance is in the hands of a reliable gentleman and not a bureaucrat. Youth of our country couldn’t rely on the lethargic government servants anymore and we would be lucky if the project is implemented as planned, Mr. Nandan don’t disappoint us” said Shishir, an engineering student in a serious tone.
Sigh of Relief
Perhaps an initiative has been taken to fathom the chaos with announcement of Unique Identification (UId) project by Nandan Nilekani the co-chairman of Infosys now the Chairperson of Unique Identification Authority of India. Inclusive of all relevantly loaded documents required to prove one’s identity would be replaced just by a 16 digit number. What a relief isn’t?
“Aah! Afterall my wish is on the verge to be granted. Am sick of unsuccessfully attempting government service examination is a fateful story but xerox, post and freight charges of identity documents has left me broke. I cross my finger to get my UID the soonest,” Ravi, a struggler prayed hopefully. Seems the project has already taken its toll and citizens are anxiously looking forward to it. Soon Indians would be dealing with a 16 digit mother of all cards associated with identifying biometric data and photographs.
What A Unifying document!
Undeniably the project would majorly benefit the poor as government issued Ids are fragmented by purpose and region in India, which results in widespread bribery, denial of public services and loss of income. Once called as Multi Purpose National Identity by Bharatiya Janata Party, UId would smash the multiple fake ids, fight terrorism and illegal immigration.
What about Money
Everything worth, costs a Ferrari. UID has been sanctioned with Rs 120 crore in the interim budget that would eventually increase with the implementation of the process to Rs 10,000 crore till the accomplishment. Around 150 non-government professionals have joined the croon to get started with the humongous task.
Sad news is for the ‘bhai’s’ and dominant people who couldn’t pay extra to choose the unique number they want, like they do for vehicles or phone numbers. The unique Id numbers would be generated by the system randomly and could not be changed by any means.
Ifs and Buts
Amidst loads of optimism, lie a few pessimists who deny believing blindly on the announced plan and raise points to prove as intellectuals.
1. "Enrolment and authentication" will be a mammoth task, as pointed out by Nilekani. What about population of 1.1 billion, a significant portion of India-2 in remote area.
2. Quite hard to trust due to past similar endeavors that have not been entirely successful.
3. Voter ID cards, PAN cards, SMART cards, how many more cards do we stuff in the wallet?
Citizens still have a reason to celebrate, don’t they? Let’s decide to have patience, settle at a mildly optimistic attitude and hope that for once, the execution of this project will be nearly (at least somewhat) as good as it sounds. As the load of country is upon a person who has ‘imagined India’ widely, most of the Indians have a cinch of belief on him.