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UID project — issues and challenges: UIDAI chairman Nilekani delivers Lincoln Memorial Lecture

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Chicago: The Gujarat branch of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce organized its annual Lincoln Memorial Lecture on “UID project-issues and challenges” at Tagore Memorial Hall in  Ahmedabad on December 8.

Dr. Nandan Nilekani, chairman of UIDAI, was welcomed by  Himanshu Vyas, chairman of IACC, Gujarat branch.  Rupesh Shah, president of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry, who was the guest of honor,  was welcomed by  Narendra Patel, vice chairman, of IACC, Gujarat.

Himanshu Vyas said that Indo American Chamber of Commerce was the principle bilateral chamber committed to the promotion of industrial, economical, business and commercial activities between the United States of America and India. With over 2,000 members across India, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Gujarat branch, was on the forefront among the many branches. Lincoln Memorial Lecture series was one of the key initiatives of Gujarat branch.

He said that Dr. Nandan Nilekani had chosen to at least temporarily give up his primary calling as a technocrat and technology entrepreneur, and devote his time and energy to a highly ambitious national project. “It is a project of great consequence simply because it will eventually bring hundreds of millions of Indians out of the shadow of anonymity and make them an important part of our nation-building,” Himanshu Vyas said and added  that he wanted to extend his cooperation to  Dr. Nilekani as he went about implementing the Unique Identification project. Gujarat has some unique management and organizational skills, which could be useful in the project.

The Unique Identification project of the Union government is perhaps its most ambitious and is likely to have a far-reaching and profound impact across all sections.

As chairman of the UID authority of India, Dr. Nandan Nilekani spoke for almost 60 minutes about the project.

Dr. Nandan Nilekani said that  the UID was not a card; it was only a unique number for every resident of the country. “The purpose of UID is mainly to verify whether a person is the one he is claiming to be. Having a UID does not give a him or her any rights or privileges. It is a simple method for agencies to know your residence. All the processes to further check on his or her credit history, or any other verifications will not be included in the UID project. They will be called KYR,” he said.

Dr. Nandan Nilekani said that the verification would be done online through a biometric identification system, which would be put in place over  the next few years. The task was mammoth.   The last  project of this kind was to create UID for 20 million; for India, the scale would be 1.2 billion. The goal would be to start issuing the first UIDs in 18 months and reach out to 600 million people in 5.5 years.

The key purpose of the project, Nilekani highlighted, was the power of inclusiveness. It would improve all sections of the country.

Dr. Nilekani addressed an audience of more than 1,000 businessmen and students of the city, as part of the Lincoln Lecture Series. The other dignitaries, who were present on the dais, were  Rupesh Shah, president of GCCI,  Narendra Patel, senior vice chariman of IACC,  Hetal Dave, vice chairman of IACC, and  Rajan Vasa, past chairman of IACC.

Madhavi Gargesh, past chairperson of IACC, proposed a vote of thanks.

Dr. Nandan Nilekani and IACC
chairman Himanshu Vyas.

Dr. Nandan Nilekani delivering
Lincoln Memorial Lecture

Dr. Nandan Nilekani (center) beeing
felicitated by Sunil Kakkad, CMD of Sai Info System (SIS)

Himanshu Viyas addressing
the audience

Vimal Ambani and his wife (front row) in the audience at the IACC meeting

A student interacting with Dr. Nandan Nilekani