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Economy Nov 26, 2012

Nilekani announces direct cash transfer facility for UID cardholders

New Delhi:The Unique Identification projecthas enrolled 270 million people in last three years and thedata collected through it can be used to provide variousbenefits like direct cash transfer to cardholders, UID projectchief Nandan Nilekani said today.

Addressing a gathering here, Nilekani also expressed theneed to make the project irreversible by providing "compellingservices" to the people.

Nandan Nilekani. PTI.

"This is three years since we launched this project. Wehave enrolled 270 million people into the system and issuedunique numbers to 220 million people. We enrol at the rate ofover a million people a day. So lets say we can do Finland ina week and Australia in three weeks," he said.

Replying to a question on the future of the project undera new government after the 2014 general election, Nilekanisaid, "What is required is to make it irreversible, that isthe way to look at this problem."

"In our view, if half a billion people in this countryhave this identity number and if they are getting a couple ofvery compelling services through this number then their voiceswill speak for it," he said.

Nilekani described the UID project as a platform whichcan be used to provide various benefits to the people."The first big application we are doing on this is directcash transfer. Government spends billions of dollars in giving
benefits to people like pensions, scholarships etc. We arebuilding a system along the banking sector to electronicallycredit money into people's bank account," he said.

Terming direct cash transfer as the first big applicationbased on UID numbers, Nilekani said, "We expect many otherapplications built on this. For example, it will make easierfor people to get their mobile connection and bank accounts.It can also be used for storing health-care records."

Asked whether he would have successfully carried on theproject without the support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Nilekani said, "You cannot do a project of this scale andmagnitude without very strong support from the Prime Ministerand lot of other people who matter."

He compared the UID project with Internet and GlobalPositioning System (GPS), which were initially developed bythe United States for military applications but were later onintroduced for civilian purposes.

PTI


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