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Bill Gates keen to partner ID card project

Last updated on: July 25, 2009 

Bill Gates keen to partner ID card project

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Microsoft, the world's largest software company, is keen to partner India in a project to issue unique identification to each citizen, its chairman Bill Gates said on Friday.

"Microsoft wants to be part of the Unique Identification Database Authority of India (UIDAI) project," he said at a joint event with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

Gates will meet UIDAI chairman Nandan M Nilekani, who was till recently co-chairman of the country's second largest software exporter, to take the possible association forward.


Image: Microsoft founder Bill Gates at a symposium on Research and Innovation - The Keys to India's Future in New Delhi.
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
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Nilekani had only on Thursday assumed charge of UIDAI and expressed confidence that his team would be able to roll out the first set of identity numbers within 12-18 months.

The project would serve as an enabling infrastructure for other identification schemes and will conform to different applications.

The UIDAI would not be issuing any biometric cards by itself, but the database created by it would help government agencies undertake that task.


Image: Nandan M Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Technologies and head of the Unique Identification Database Authority of India.
Photographs: Jagadeesh Nv/Reuters
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The UID number would help government in identifying targeted beneficiaries for various welfare scheme and departments, based on their needs, could use the number.

The main aim of the UID, according to Nilekani, was to avert the need for multiple proof of identity for citizens while availing any government service, or for private needs like opening bank accounts or seeking telephone connections.


Image: A woman holds her voter's identity card at a polling booth in Bangalore.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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