Aad­haar Bio­met­rics for NPR: MHA May Seek AG’s Help

Regis­trar General of In­dia has shared bio­met­rics of nearly 28 cr peo­ple with UIDAI for Aad­haars but UIDAI is not will­ing to re­cip­ro­cate de­spite ear­lier agree­ment

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: Homem­i­nistry­has­been asked by the cab­i­net sec­re­tary to ap­proachAt­tor­neyGen­eral(AG)tofind away­out­fromthe­p­rospect­fac­ingthe Regis­trar General of In­dia (RGI) of tak­ing fresh bio­met­rics of nearly 70 crore peo­ple as the Unique Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Au­thor­ity of In­dia (UIDAI)is­not­sharin­gitwith­theRGI.

This has raised the prospect of an­other tus­sle be­tween the RGI and the UIDAI. A Com­mit­tee of Sec­re­taries (CoS) headed by cab­i­net sec­re­tary PK Sinha has asked the home min­istry to seek the AG’s opinion on the is­sue of sourc­ing of bio­met­ric data from UIDAI for pre­par­ing the manda­tory Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Regis­ter (NPR). This came af­ter home sec­re­tary Ra­jiv Mehrishi com­plained to the CoS that if UIDAI would not part with bio­met­ric in­for­ma­tion for RGI’s NPR, the “statu­tory man­date of pre­par­ing the NPR will be ob­structed”. Mehrishi has also pointed out be­fore the CoS that it had been pre­vi­ously de­cided by cab­i­net, while al­lot­ting states for bio­met­ric en­rol­ment to the UIDAI and RGI in 2012 un­der the UPA rule, that both the or­gan­i­sa­tionswould“mu­tu­allyshare” A TOP GOV­ERN­MENT OF­FI­CIAL

the in­for­ma­tion.

RGI needs bio­met­rics of nearly 70 cr­peo­ple–which­have­been­cap­tured by the UIDAI for Aad­haar – to pre­pare the NPR. RGI has shared bio­met­rics cap­tured by it of nearly 28 croreper­son­swith­UIDAI­for­gen­er­a­tion of Aad­haars but the lat­ter is cit­ing its re­cently passed Act to say core bio­met­ric data can­not be shared with any gov­ern­ment or pri­vate agency ex­cept in­di­vid­ual cases on grounds of na­tional se­cu­rity.

“RGI hence faces the prospect of tak­ing bio­met­rics of 70 crore peo­ple again for pre­par­ing NPR…any such ex­er­cise will be a huge fi­nan­cial bur­den,” a top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial told ET. Also, while RGI cap­tures en­rol­ment data un­der 15 pa­ram­e­ters while UIDAI does it un­der only 5 heads. “Hence, UIDAI en­rol­ment data can any­ways not co-re­late to RGI and NPR re­quire­ments,” the of­fi­cial said.A Home Min­istry spokesper­son­did­not­com­men­twhenasked on­thesta­geof the­p­ro­ces­sof seek­ing theAG’sopin­ion­but­pointed­out­that NPR and Aad­haar “came un­der dif­fer­ent acts” – the Cit­i­zen­ship Act, 1955 and the re­cently passed UIDAI Act re­spec­tively.

“The law will de­cide,” the home min­istry spokesper­son said. A source said the Home Min­istry will pitch for an amend­ment to the re­cently passed UIDAI Act or a pro­vi­sion in the still-to-be-en­acted rules of the Act to man­date the UIDAI to share the data with RGI. How­ever, a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said that the min­istry case was weak un­til the Cab­i­net ap­proves the long-pend­ing MHA’s pro­posal of Res­i­dent Iden­tity Cards planned to be is­sued to all res­i­dents over 18 years – the fi­nal step in the NPR process.

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