August 13, 2009 5:23:03 am
Lamenting that lack of identity proof often resulted in harassment and denial of services to the poor and marginalised,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday urged all ministries and departments to support the initiative to provide a unique identity number to all Indian citizens in order to improve the delivery mechanism of the governments pro-poor schemes and programmes.
Speaking at the first meeting of the recently-formed council to advise the UID Authority,the Prime Minister said unique identity numbers would ensure enhanced access to government services for every intended beneficiary and prevent leakages.
UID Authority chairman Nandan Nilekani made a presentation spelling out the strategy of implementing this ambitious project which was given in principle approval by the 11-member council,a government statement said.
The council also resolved to provide a legal framework for the UID Authority in some time. As reported by this paper,the government intends to give statutory status to the authority under a separate legislation to fulfil its objectives. The legislation will also stipulate the rules,regulations,processes and protocols to be followed by different agencies partnering the Authority. Both Nilekani and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia stressed on the need to give a strong legal backing to the authority at the earliest.
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The meeting,held at the Prime Ministers residence,was attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,Law Minister M Veerappa Moily,Minister for Rural Development C P Joshi and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal apart from the Cabinet Secretary and secretaries of various ministries.
Considering that the project is the first of its kind in scope,technology,logistics and computing,the council decided to offer the Authority flexibilities in the area of manpower,organisational structure etc,the statement said.
Besides ensuring a better delivery of services to the poor,the unique identity project is also likely to result in significant savings to the state exchequer by eliminating fraud and duplicate identities. The Ministry of Petroleum alone is estimated to save over Rs 1,200 crore every year in subsidies now reportedly lost on LPG cylinders registered under bogus identities.
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