Big Companies keen to partner India’s Unique ID project!!!

It appears that IT giants Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco are keen to help power the technology for India’s Unique Identification project.

What is the Unique ID project?

A project in which every Indian citizen would have one unique identification number(similar to a U.S. social security number) that will identify him/her. It would not just help the government track down individuals as is highlighted by the media, but would make life far easier for citizens as they would not have to submit so many documents each time they want to avail a new service—private or government. The project is headed by Infosys co-chairman Nanden Nilekani.

This task is not small considering the population of India is around 1.2 billion. This would involve very powerful technology to assign these unique ID’s and then to organize/store these ID’s would require a large database. This is why i think Yahoo and Microsoft are keen to help out.

Yesterday only Yahoo’s worldwide Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed interest to partner the government in the project. She also stated that tey(Yahoo) don’t have any commercial interest in the deal, Yahoo would help out on a non-profit basis.

If i can remember clearly earlier this year Microsoft was also keen to help out in the project. Bill Gates himself stated this once i think. Anyways i don’t know if they would also help out on a “non-profit basis”.

Other companies like IBM and Cisco are also willing ot help out in the project. Indian IT companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro are also hoping that this project would help stimulate the domestic software market.

The first set of identification numbers are said to roll out in 12-18 months, lets see if its possible. Its said by UIDAI that they would cover at least 600 million residents within five and half years. They have also pointed out that the identification number will be a proof of identity linked to demographic and biometric information but not confer citizenship.