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Nilekani first chief of Unique ‘ID’ project
Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, June 25 – In a move towards setting up of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI), the Union Cabinet today cleared a proposal for creation of a post of chairperson in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister. Nandan Nilekani has been appointed as its first chairman. The Authority will have the responsibilities to lay down plan and policies to implement Unique Identification Scheme (UID), shall own and operate the Unique Identification Number database and be responsible for its update and maintenance on an ongoing basis, said Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni briefing newsmen.

The Central Government proposes to issue unique identification number to every citizen by 2011. The project is to be implemented by the UIAI, which will be a part of Planning Commission.

“By 2011, we should be able to develop a system through which anyone wanting a unique identity number could get it. This will help authorities in easily identifying the citizens of the country,” Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told newsmen recently.

The authority would work in close cooperation with the Home Ministry, which would provide the population data via Registrar General of the Census concurrent to 2011 census.

The proposal to set up the authority was approved by the empowered group of ministers, headed by the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in November 2008.

For long, national identity cards have been advocated to enhance national security, prevent potential terrorist attacks and stop illegal immigration, said officials.

The Authority will be responsible for maintaining the core database and laying down the procedures for issue of smart cards, carrying the unique identification number (UID).

The pilot project launched to issue multi-purpose national identity cards in select States including two districts each of Assam and Tripura would be used in finalising the project, said sources.