UIDAI's Aadhaar Project: Challenges Ahead

UIDAI's Aadhaar Project: Challenges Ahead
Case Code: PROM013
Case Length: 15 pages
Period: 2009-2012
Pub Date: 2012
Teaching Note: Not Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: Unique Identification Authority of India
Industry: -
Countries: India
Themes: Project Management
UIDAI's Aadhaar Project: Challenges Ahead
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


On February 7, 2012, Nandan Nilekani (Nilekani), former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of India-based technology company, Infosys Technologies Limited and Chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), announced that the UIDAI would refresh its data collection process by including the best finger printing technology and by introducing the multiple-try method in the second phase of Aadhaar enrolment in April 2012. Aadhaar, previously called the Unique Identification (UID) project, was the 12-digit identification number provided by the UIDAI on behalf of the Government of India (GoI).

The number served as proof of address and identity for citizens anywhere in India. The Aadhaar project was initiated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) under the guidance of Manmohan Singh (Singh), Prime Minister (PM) of India and member of the UPA, to provide an identity to the 1.2 billion citizens of India. The project aimed to plug loopholes in welfare programs where checking leakages and identifying beneficiaries was a major challenge. There was an absolute guarantee that no two people would have the same Aadhaar, according to the UIDAI. Besides, it could not be duplicated either. Thus on January 28, 2009, the UIDAI was constituted under the aegis of the Planning Commission. Subsequently in June 2009, Nilekani was invited by Singh to head the Aadhaar project and was given the rank of a union cabinet minister as Chairperson of the UIDAI. After being appointed UIDAI Chairman, Nilekani said, "The Government has come to the conclusion that this project is strategic and worth it. I have been invited to lead this project. I believe that it is viable and I will do my best to make it viable.

In September 2010, the Aadhaar project was launched by Singh and UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi (Gandhi), in Tembhali village in Maharashtra. The launch signified UIDAI's core initiative of giving the poor and marginalized in India an easily verifiable and mobile identity. It was reported that the poor usually migrated in search of work from their villages and faced problems regarding their identity. The Aadhaar number was expected to give the villagers their first mobile identification. Gandhi emphasized the importance of Aadhaar in the context of India's increasingly mobile population and in fulfilling GoI's commitment to inclusive growth. Since the top people of the GoI were involved in the project, the Aadhaar project was accorded a VIP status.

Having invited Nilekani, Singh gave him full autonomy during the implementation of the Aadhaar project. Nilekani was given a free hand to recruit good talent and implement the project without the monitoring of the Planning Commission. For the FY 2009-2010, the UIDAI was given a budget of US$ 22 million for implementing the first phase of the Aadhaar project covering 200 million residents of India...

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