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Digitalization of India: What the UID would mean to the common user?

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on April 16, 2010

In an earlier post, i had written about the User Identity Program that the UPA government has undertaken with Nandan Nilekani (Ex CEO Infosys) to drive information access to the vast Indian population. This post details the UID program and what it could be doing to the life of people.

Catch the earlier posts of the Digitalization of India series here. (National Population Register and UID program)


The UID would be Nandan Nilekani’s biggest project till date.

The following would be the first level benefits from the UID for individuals:

• ATM Card (Before transaction the user has to enter its last four digits of virtual Debit card)
• Credit Card (Before transaction the user have to enter its last four digits of virtual card)
• Bank Account opening, will not require any lengthy process and the process will hinge only on the UID.
• NREGA payments will get deposited to the users bank account number by the vendor.
• AN employee will carry all his employment details on his card which can just be updated every time the employee moves office, location of organization.
• UIDs will facilitate Online tax returns and tax deductions will happen online. Thus the government will save interest amounts charged.
• The UID will facilitate shopping transactions just like a normal debit card.
• The card replaces the driving license. It would carry the photograph of the user and his eligibility in driving.
• The UID will carry all biometric information on the user in case of emergencies and accidents.
• The UID will also double up as the voters card and can be used at voting kiosks to register his vote from remote locations.( A Chennai voter can register his vote from Delhi)
• The cards will be mandated at every property sale/purchase. It can thus be useful in tracking the unaccounted deposits and monies besides providing an electronic database of the person’s wealth.
• Government grants would also be planned in accordance of the UID records.
• All individual expenses on the government front such as electricity bill, water bill and utilities will be deducted/added on the UID.
Thus the UID becomes a tool to track an individual’s activities, his income, spends, travels and other details. Given that both systems (NPR and UID) capture biometric data, the effort becomes a 360 degree tracking of the possibly 80-90% of the population of the country digitally.

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Digitalization of India: The Ambitious User Identity Program

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on April 13, 2010

This post is continuation of the Digitalization of India series, which captures efforts by the government of India to capture information about majority of its population. This effort will define new grounds and as technology and governance will come hand in hand to shape the future of the nation.

Add the NPR to the UID. User Identity Card UID is UPA government’s project and mega vision to give an identity to all the Indian population. India’s UID program is today the world’s most challenging and ambitious transformation program. The multi-application smart cards with unique identities (UIDs) for citizens will facilitate easy verification, availing of government or private services, help welfare programmes reach intended beneficiaries and for serving as basis for e-Governance. The UID would obviate the need for a person to produce multiple documentary proofs of his identity for availing of any government service, or private services like opening of a bank account. This would end needless harassment that people face for availing of basic government services like issuance of passports, driving licences and electoral identity cards.

Backed by intensive use of technology, it would greatly facilitate easy verification of a person’s identity and enable a single communication to trigger address changes in all relevant agencies records. It would also serve as the basis for many e-Governance services incorporating online verification of a person’s identity.UID would enable government to ensure that benefits under various welfare programmes reach the intended beneficiaries, prevent cornering of benefits by a few people and minimise frauds. It would enable financial institutions to exchange information regarding defaulters and encourage responsible borrower behaviour. The scheme envisages that at the inception, the UID number will be assigned to all voters by building on current electoral roll data and progressively adding other persons including persons below 18 years of age who are not a part of the voters list in the country.The scheme is designed to leverage intensive usage of the UID for multiple purposes to provide an efficient and convenient mechanism to update information. Photographs and biometric data will be added progressively to make the identification foolproof. Easy registration and information change procedures are envisaged for the benefit of the people.Any agency, public or private, which deals with individuals and incorporates the UID number of each such individual in its databases, will be able to share information with other agencies which do likewise.

(to be continued)

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