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TCS, Wipro, TechM, IBM, NEC shortlisted for UID project

Thursday 3 June 2010

Meanwhile, the UIDAI has also started issuing RFPs for the data center management work of the project. Bidders will be shortlisted over the next four-six weeks.

While earlier, there was speculation regarding whether identification would be done via finger printing or iris scans, the verdict is out. It’s both. The cabinet recently allowed use of biometrics. The reason for using iris scans as well as fingerprints is that children below 15 years don’t have fully developed prints (there is also an issue with laborers and others who might have got their prints erased due to extensive application of pressure).

The ongoing national census will collect demographic data for the project. Common service centers (CSCs), or information technology kiosks being set up to offer digitized government services in rural areas, will help collect biometric data for UID project, known as Aadhaar.

The Registrar General of India (RGI), which has an agreement with Aadhaar for synchronizing biometric data collection for UIDs and the ongoing national census, made the proposal to use CSCs, around 100,000 of which are being created. Biometric data includes facial recognition features, iris scans and fingerprints.

Biometrics will be the second IT contract from UIDAI. The first was for application development services, worth INR 190 million (EUR 3.3 million), bagged by Bangalore-based IT services provider MindTree. The first UID contract to become a consulting partner for UIDAI, of the size of INR 70.5 million (EUR 1.2 million), was bagged by consultancy firm Ernst & Young.

Biometrics and computing power hold the keys to Nilekani’s UID project, which is estimated to offer a INR 150 to 200 billion (EUR 2.5 to 3.6 billion) opportunity to computing, database, smart card and storage vendors, besides systems integrators. For every rupee of IT spend on the UID project, industry experts estimate around 60% of the spending will go to hardware vendors.

According to biometrics tender details, the bidder shall have at least 2,500 agents employed in delivering in-bound contact center services and have at least 500 physical in-bound contact center seats operational at a single location in India as on March 31. The firms shall have demonstrated capability of serving customers in Hindi, English, and at least one of the required languages in each of the regions mentioned herewith — South (Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam), West (Gujarati, Marathi), East (Bengali, Oriya, Assamese).

The bidder shall also have proven experience in implementing and ongoing management of large in-bound contact center solutions. The bidder shall have handled at least 5 million in-bound calls a month for every month in FY ’09 –10 or an equivalent average.The first set of UIDs will be issued between August 2010 and February 2011. Nilekani plans to issue 600 million UIDs over the next five years.