New Delhi: Amid dispute between the Union Home Ministry and the Planning Commission over Unique Identity, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the Centre on unwarranted tussle within the UPA and raised the issue of national security before extending UID cards to citizens.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to summon the Cabinet to resolve the difference of opinion, has added further fuel to the fire. However, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said, “The issue of bringing synergy between the database of the National Population Register and the biometric database of the Aadhaar project is now before the Cabinet.”

Meanwhile, the main Opposition BJP on Saturday demanded that the mandate of the UIDAI's ambitious scheme should not be extended without addressing serious national security concerns. 

Slamming the UPA government on the issue, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The UPA ministers have difference of opinion on the issue. Either the ministries differ or hold divergent views.  There is also a serious disconnect between the Congress and its allies. Although, not a single decision in the UPA government is made by consensus, this is one fresh matter reflecting disagreement in the government. ”

"Can the issue of development be divorced from securities issues? Welfare programmes are financed from tax payers' money. Why should it go to those who have got no legal status to stay in India? There are already reports that in many parts of the country including North–East, illegal immigrants have manipulated documents to corner benefits meant for the poor as also voting rights," he said.

Saying that the BJP has no reason to side with P Chidambaram, Prasad said, “Security concerns are more important than the Home Minister...we want to know by what time the National Population Register will be ready. We want to know about the steps being taken by this government to address national security concerns before extending UID mandate,” added Prasad.

Prasad further said, “Even the Parliamentary Standing committee on Finance had recently criticised the UID Bill that in substance gives statutory status to the UIDAI "which means overlapping with the National Population Register (NPR) which is also engaged in collection of biometric data.”

The Rajya Sabha MP said the whole concept of National Register of Indian Citizen and establishment of a National Registration Authority for this purpose is of fundamental
importance. This unique ID will help India's poor avail the welfare schemes and benefits they are entitled to, which are currently over-run by corrupt middlemen. 

(JPN/Bureau)