Unique identification project was initially conceived by the Planning Commission as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.
a) The concept of a unique identification was first discussed and worked upon since 2006 when administrative approval for the project –"Unique ID for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families" was given on 03 March 2006 by the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. This project was to be implemented by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) over a period of 12 months. Subsequently, a Processes Committee to suggest processes for updation, modification, addition and deletion of data fields from the core database to be created under the Unique ID for below BPL project was set up on 03 July 2006. This was set up under the chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Virmani, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission.
b) A "Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project" was prepared and submitted to this Committee by M/S Wipro Ltd (Consultant for the design phase and program management phase of the Pilot UIDAI project). It envisaged the close linkage that the UIDAI would have to the electoral database. The Committee also appreciated the need of a UIDAI Authority to be created by an executive order under the aegis of the Planning Commission to ensure a pan-departmental and neutral identity for the authority and at the same time enable a focused approach to attaining the goals set for the XI Plan. The Seventh Meeting of the Process Committee on 30 August 2007 decided to furnish to the Planning commission a detailed proposal based on the resource model for seeking its "in principle" approval.
c) At the same time, the Registrar General of India was engaged in the creation of the National Population Register and issuance of Multi-purpose National Identity Cards to citizens of India.
d) Therefore, it was decided, with the approval of the Prime Minister, to constitute an empowered group of Ministers (EGoM) to collate the two schemes – the National Population Register under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Unique Identification Number project of the Department of Information Technology. The EGoM was also empowered to look into the methodology and specific milestones for early and effective completion of the Project and take a final view on these. The EGoM was constituted on 04 December 2006.
Prime Minister's Council on UIDAI Authority - Subsequently, on 02 July 2009, the Government appointed Shri. Nandan M. Nilekani as the first Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister for an initial tenure of five years. Mr. Nilekani has joined the UIDAI as its Chairman on 23 July 2009. The Prime Minister's Council of UIDAI Authority of India was set up on 30 July 2009. The Council is to advise the UIDAI on Programme, methodology and implementation to ensure co-ordination between Ministries/Departments, stakeholders and partners. The Council would meet once every quarter. The First Meeting of the Prime Minister's Council of UIDAI Authority took place on 12 August 2009.
The salient decisions in the PMs council were as follows :
The Government of India issued orders constituting the Cabinet Committee on UIDAI Authority on 22 October 2009. It is headed by the Honourable Prime Minister and consists of the Minister of Finance, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Law and Justice, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Minister of Labour and Employment, Minister of Human Resource Development, Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Tourism. The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Chairman UIDAI are special invitees. The functions of the Committee, which is headed by the Honourable PM would be as under :
All issues relating to the Unique identification Authority of India including its organisation, plans, policies, programmes, schemes, funding and methodology to be adopted for achieving the objectives of that Authority.
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