Why need Aadhaar when NPR is here?

With the government’s renewed interest in national population register (NPR), looks like it is the end of road for Aadhaar

shivangi-narayan

Shivangi Narayan | June 18, 2014



Union minister for home Rajnath Singh has today said that steps would be taken to make the national population register (NPR) project to its logical conclusion. The minister reviewed the project and directed that proposals to populate the register with data from the birth and death registration database and to provide a national identity card to people be made and approved from the ministry of home (MHA) at the earliest.

 Dr C. Chandramouli, registrar general of citizen registration made a presentation on the project and outlined its importance for national security. NPR is also the biggest e-governance and national security project in the world.

 The urgency of the home ministry and in turn the government’s on the NPR project indicates a waning interest in a similar identity initiative – Aadhaar. Speculations are rife, after the Modi government scrapped the cabinet committee on UIDAI, that the projects would see its end in the new government.

Aadhaar/UIDAI was started by the UPA government but never got parliament’s approval. The whole exercise of enrolling 60 crore people on a budget of Rs 3,500 crore was carried through an executive order.

With future of Aadhaar at stake, state governments are chalking out a way to work around services integrated with the identity scheme. According to official sources, R S Sharma, secretary, department of electronics and IT (DeitY) has invited IT secretaries of all states next week to ponder on the future of Aadhaar. States like Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, where Aadhaar enrolment is close to 100 percent would have to chalk out future strategies for the use of existing databases of enrolment.

States like Maharshtra and Andhra Pradesh and union territories like Chandigarh have many services currently being provided using Aadhaar. They will have to think about alternative platforms, even NPR, to keep these services alive.

 NPR is similar to Aadhaar as it collects identity and biometric data of all citizens. However, it has legal backing and is only for bonafide citizens of India. Even before, Aadhaar was considered as a duplicating the efforts of NPR, which continued even after states were divided into being enrolled either into Aadhaar or NPR. Modi government will probably put an end to this confusion.

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