NEW DELHI: The government is planning to issue a unique identification (ID) to every citizen from December 2009, which would help it in better governance, including targeting kerosene, cooking gas, food, fertiliser, education and electricity subsidies. The task of creating the database may soon be entrusted to the proposed agency — UID Authority of India (UIDAI).  

“UID would eventually pave way for the smart card system, a proposed subsidy delivery mechanism, that would usher in a targeted subsidy regime. It will also help in identifying citizens, a move to counter terrorism from across the border” an official, who asked not to be identified, told ET. A committee of secretaries (CoS) has proposed to set up UIDAI by December 2008. Consequently, UID would be available for use by an initial set of authorised users by December 2009, he added.

The subsidy amount would be directly credited to the individual smart card owners and that could be redeemed at authorised suppliers like fair price shops, kerosene or cooking gas (LPG) dealers or fertiliser outlets. The move is on the lines of the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12).
According to the Plan document, the smart card would have a memory partitioned into distinct modules representing different entitlement groups for which free services or implicit/explicit subsidies are given. These include food and nutrition, energy (kerosene, LPG, electricity), education services, health services, civic amenities and services (drinking water, toilets/sanitation), employment (National Rural Employment Guarantee) and economic/farming (fertiliser, irrigation water, MSP).

It is likely that the government may form an empowered group of ministers (E-GoM) that would approve constitution of UIDAI as proposed by the CoS. A similar structure is proposed at states level. “Initially, the body would be constituted through an executive order and later it would be invested with statutory authority, if needed,” the official said.

The UIDAI would create its initial database from the electoral roll and electoral photo identity card (EPIC). The data would later be authenticated through the below poverty line (BPL) and public distribution system (PDS) data. It is likely that the Central authority of UIDAI would be established under the Planning Commission as it is the only agency that deals with most of the central departments, states and union territories.

 

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