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Union Cabinet stops NPR ID card program in India

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The Union Cabinet in India has stopped the National Population Register‘s (NPR) ID card program, ending a long bureaucratic turf war between the Unique Identity Authority of India and the NPR.

Following a tense cabinet meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his ministers, the project was ultimately put in “deep freeze,” The Hindustan Times reports.

The NPR program was working in tandem with the country’s census efforts and was to be used to streamline the delivery of government services and facilitate economic development.

According to the report, some ministers expressed concerns about ageing technology, coverage and budget, as well as duplicating the efforts of the UIDAI’s on-going Aadhaar program.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, there has long been a turf war between the NPR and the UIDAI in India over respective ID card initiatives and data collection. In 2012, more than 3.1 million cards – or about 90 percent – of the NPR’s cards had been issued under the NPR coastal project.

In January 2012, the Home Ministry’s office and the UIDAI reached a compromise that allowed both the Aadhaar and the NPR to proceed simultaneously. However, in a later Cabinet meeting it was agreed that the UIDAI would proceed with the Aadhaar while the Home Ministry would have to wait for the former to complete the “majority” of its work. It was also agreed that should discrepancies arise between the two, NPR data would prevail.

National ID card programs are definitely on the rise and many countries are implementing similar programs or are looking to do so. Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, American Senators John McCain and Chuck Schumer in a recent interview spoke about their framework for immigration reform which they said could require biometric information to check employment status, leading many to suggest social security cards could soon come with biometrics.


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