UID kicks off on September 29, 2010
Under the scheme, a 12-digit unique number will be provided to every citizen of the country. The number will be given to 100 million people by the end of the current financial year and cover around 600 million Indians by 2014. This is further confirmed by the UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani who also said UIDAI would provide banking services through a new UID-based microATM which equipped with a biometric scanner and standardized by UIDAI and Indian’s major banks.
L-1 Identity Solutions (cf. Focus section) announced it has received US$ 24.5 million (EUR 18.2 million) in purchase orders for finger and iris biometric capture devices for the initial phase of UID program. The orders include both Agile TP fingerprint slap devices and Mobile-Eyes iris cameras, both of which have been certified for the UID program by the Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate for the Government of India's Department of Information Technology (DIT). Some units have already shipped and the remainder is expected to ship now through March 2011. The orders were received from multiple sources participating in the UID program and L-1 expects to continue to receive additional orders for more units throughout the program's five-year enrollment cycle. L-1, through a contract manufacturing partner, has established a manufacturing facility in India that will begin producing devices for this program in Q4/2010.
While the project seems going on with an explosion of publicity, critics are also warning about the so called “Identity Crisis”
In a few years, UID is intended to become a ubiquitous number, to be used in many operations: enrolling in a school, maintaining a bank account, ticketing for travel, seeking treatment in a hospital and having one’s death recorded in a mortuary register.
Enrolment is said to be voluntary. But, and as is now acknowledged, other agencies may refuse to provide a service if an individual is not enrolled, making it compulsory. The Working Paper of the UID Authority of India (UIDAI), which has been the basis of many discussions, starts with a claim that the UID will bring down barriers that prevent the poor from accessing services; but quickly adds: “UID will only guarantee identity, not rights, benefits and entitlements.”