Give me more time... I don’t even have an e-mail ID,” an exasperated Nandan Nilekani said on the sidelines of a book launch by Pearson Education today.
Nilekani, who has been appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to head the National Authority for Unique Identity, has been in the news for providing a unique identification (UID) number to all Indians. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is being established under the aegis of the Planning Commission.
When asked where his office would be (Nilekani is sitting in the Planning Commission office currently), the former co-chairman of Infosys said that, as of now, he did not even have an e-mail id. As for what his priorities would be with regard to the ambitious UID project that would create a ‘national verification process’, he said: “Give me more time. Wait till August 15.”
The UID intends to enable a unique identity which will ensure that people have a unique number. This is also expected to help in creating a national verification process, and create a national enrollment capability as it would be a database of Indian citizens.

The government has earmarked an initial budgetary allocation of Rs 120 crore for the UID project in the fiscal year 2009-10. In fact, in 2008, the government implemented a pilot project for a ‘Multi-purpose National Identity Card (MNIC) in 13 districts of 12 states and one Union Territory wherein more than 1.2 million identity cards were issued to people above 18 years of age.

The unique ID will require creation of a database that links an individual to a unique identifier that remains constant over his lifespan, like parentage, date and place of birth. The card automatically gets activated as a voter identity card at the age of 18.