BANGALORE, INDIA: Year 2010 will be remembered for many good as well as bad things in all walks of life. While the scams and controversies made we Indians bit perturbed as to how our money is misused by some vested interests, there is one good news too. Yes, it is about the unique identity that every Indian will have very soon, with the nationwide launch of the UID number.
Aadhar, as christened by the UIDAI, headed by Nandan Nilekani, former CEO and managing director of the Infosys, is going to be the 12-digit identity for every citizen of the country, irrespective of the age, job, location etc...
After a person is allotted a UID number, his/her identity linked to biometrics would be established to uniquely identify the person. The UID number would authenticate the identity claim of a person and would have wide-ranging applications during the person's lifetime. And it would benefit everyone from students to farmers to corporate executives.
The UID will not just help the government track down individuals but will make life far easier for citizens as they will not have to submit so many documents each time they want to avail a new service — private or government.
Since India is a country where food distribution is a major concern, UID can be helpful in bringing transparency in public distribution system, too, and make sure the benefits of government schemes are reaching the people who deserve it.
Also, in the long run, the number will be adequate to open a bank account or conduct any other financial transaction and if the UID cards are made available it can even replace bank cards, thus making one single number changing our life once and for all.
UID took off its first step in October in Maharashtra, in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. At the same time, it was launched at Mysore and Tumkur in Karnataka too.
Since the team for UID was formed, around early 2010, a lot of buzz about the projects had started coming in. It had generated a lot of interest among the corporates and IT companies.
So far around 16 contracts have been awarded. The contract for implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI was bagged by three companies namely Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam), L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company, Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd. Advertising Agency for designing Creative Content went to Percept H. Pvt. Ltd. (Media).
Bharti Airtel is given the responsibility of setting up hiring and data center space and facilities at Bangalore, while Intelenet Global Services would be setting up and operating contact centers.
The re-design, development, maintenance and support of UIDAI Web Portal contract went in the hands of Tata Consultancy Services. It also received the contract for purchase of biometric devices. Apart from TCS, HCL Infosystems, 4G Identity Solution, e-Smart Systems, Base Systems were also winners of the similar bid.
National Informatics Center Services is responsible for the purchase of storage systems and the blade servers and hardware for data center.
As we already know, MindTree bagged the contract for application software development, maintenance and support agency, while Ernst & Young would look at the consultancy Services to UIDAI for the setting up of central ID data repository (CIDR) and selection of managed service provider (MSP).
Coming new year might see the complete roll-out of UID in a few states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and subsequently the entire country in a few years.
It's a great feeling that every single will soon have a unique identity.