Government May Move Aadhar Project To IT Ministry

NEW DELHI: The government is looking for a new parent for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as it prepares to wind up the Planning Commission, which had so far been the administrative authority for the body that has been tasked with issuing chip-based, biometric photo ID cards, called Aadhar, to all Indians.

Senior government officials told ET that the government can move UIDAI to the information technology (IT) ministry. They said discussions are on between the Planning Commission and the IT ministry on the feasibility of moving out UIDAI from the commission. “This is necessary since the government is working on the process of closing down the commission. Besides, placing UIDAI under the IT ministry will ensure greater synergy between the authority and the Centre,” one of these officials said on condition of anonymity. IT secretary RS Sharma has, however, said no such proposal was being considered by the ministry.

But some officials said the idea of putting UIDAI under the control of the IT ministry was mooted by Sharma, who was the director-general of UIDAI when it was launched in 2009. These officials also said that Sharma not only persuaded the Narendra Modi government to retain UIDAI but also convinced it to fast-track generation of Aadhar cards for 100 crore-plus Indians. According to the official quoted earlier, the only hurdle before the government in attaching UIDAI to the IT ministry is co-ordination with states, which, until now, was done by the Planning Commission.

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Soon after taking over as home minister, Rajnath Singh had said that the government will merge UIDAI with the National Population Register, which is under his ministry. But days later, the Prime Minister announced that his government has decided to retain UIDAI and given it a target to issue Aadhaar cards to 100 crore citizens by the end of 2015.