Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UID in Bihar from Aug 2011: Nilekani

PATNA: Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani has said people in Bihar will start getting their biometric card in the state from August 2011 and the first phase will continue till December 2011.

Nilekani, on his maiden visit to Bihar, said, "About 600 million people across the country will get their unique identification numbers within the next five-and-a-half years. But that will be only half the country's population."

Nilekani, who is heading the UPA government's prestigious and unique project, on Tuesday called on chief minister Nitish Kumar. Nilekani said he came to Bihar to share basic knowledge about the 16 digit multi-purpose ID card and to seek the views of the state government.

Nitish, who informed Nilekani about the state's rapid progress in the IT sector among others, assured his government's full support to the UIDAI chief in his mission. The CM said migration of Biharis to other states in search of job is very high so special drive was needed for their survey and data collection during the festivals of Holi, Eid and Chhath. He expressed the hope that with the help of UID number, the migrant labourers would easily be able to open bank accounts and send money back to their homes.

"This ID will certainly be very useful and helpful for the common people, particularly those living in rural areas, and the government will be able to provide them benefits under various schemes," Nitish said.

Nilekani praised the efforts of Bihar and particularly appreciated the e-Shakti project under the NREGA scheme under which the beneficiaries are given a biometric card. He was also impressed that Bihar has been awarded first prize for e-governance.

"It is a good sign that Bihar is giving due importance to biometric projects," he said.

The co-founder of Infosys spent about two hours with Nitish and also had lunch with him. Others who were present at the meeting included deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, chief secretary Anup Mukherjee, development commissioner Navin Kumar Sinha and several bureaucrats, including RCP Singh, C K Mishra, Chanchal Kumar and S Siddarth.

Nilekani, who was accompanied by his secretary, M S Shrikar, and UID expert R S Sharma, also held separate discussions with government officials at the state secretariat.