Mamallapuram (TN): Rejecting reports of a tussle between his ministry and the Unique Identification Authority of India, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the government was mulling incorporating Aadhar numbers in the future resident ID cards of the National Population Register.

"There were some media reports about conflict between the Home Ministry and the UIDAI, but they are not true," he said launching the distribution of smart cards under NPR for coastal villages in Tamil Nadu at nearby Pattipulm village, about 80 km from Chennai.

Chidambaram said Aadhar was a unique number while the smart card being issued under the NPR would have comprehensive details.

"Aadhar is the unique identification number. NPR issues an identity card with all relevant information. The NPR card would get a special status if Aadhar number is incorporated," he said.

His comments come in the backdrop of a battle between the Home Ministry and the Planning Commission, under whose ambit the UIDAI comes, over carrying out the bio-metric collections for the ambitious Unique Identification Number project.

Home Ministry had recently written to the Prime Minister objecting to UIDAI collecting bio-metric data beyond its mandated 20 crore limit. But, the Planning Commission has thrown its weight behind the Nandan Nilakeni-headed UIDAI. Chidambaram said inclusion of Aadhar number in the NPR smart cards would allow its effective use in ensuring government services were delivered to the right beneficiary.

Citing an example, he said in the case of a scholarship for student, only the designated beneficiary can avail it by using the NPR smart card having the Aadhar ID number.

Aadhaar project will continue: Ahluwalia

Seeking to dispel the impression that sharp differences existed between it and the Union Home Ministry over the UIDAI project, the Planning Commission on Monday said it should be allowed to go ahead with steps taken to avoid overlap with the National Population register.

The Planning Commission proposed to take a note to the Cabinet on this which was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here.

"We regard the Aadhar project as a very important national project that will enable much greater efficiency in the operation of a large number of government schemes", he told reporters.

"If there is a small overlap (with Home Ministry’s National Population Register) that would not matter. There are many government programmes which do similar things and we don't apply the principle that you should not have any overlap," he said.

"One can never avoid controversies because even when there isn't a controversy somebody has to write a nice press report, he said when asked about reports of differences between the Planning Commission and the Home Ministry over the Aadhar issue.

Noting that he was "very happy to clarify it", Ahluwalia said, "We regard the Aaadhar Project as a very important national project. It is a project that will enable much greater efficiency in the operation of a large number of government schemes. Reduce leakage make things easier etc."

The Aadhar Project had an approval to go up to a certain level, he said, adding the project authorities were told earlier to try and avoid an overlap with the NPR, which was a completely separate scheme under the Home Ministry.

Now discussions had taken place between the Registrar General's office and the Aadhar authority to see whether an overlap could be avoided.

"The Home Ministry and the Registrar General's office have said they will not be able to use any data collected by the UIDAI because they have a statutory requirement that only data that each has collected in a particular way can be used.

So our view is, of course, that we should not interrupt the Aadhar process which is going very well," he said.

"May be by modifying the guidelines perhaps the Registrar General will also be able to choose the data from Aadhar. But if for some reason that is not possible, my position is that the Aadhar project should be allowed to proceed at its own pace because it's a very crucial project to improve efficiency of number of government programmes," Ahluwalia said.

"The fact is that these are separate projects. Ministry of Home affairs project has completely different objective. So we are asking a note to the Cabinet. I hope the Cabinet will decide. This is scheduled at the moment on Wednesday. So I hope we got to go ahead."

When asked about security concerns expressed by the Home Ministry, he said, "You know my understanding is this security concerns are relevant for Home Ministry's project. We are not saying that the Aadhar project should actually necessarily be used by the Home Ministry."

If they felt they wanted to have a higher level of security concern, they could do that in NPR. "I think the whole idea that each has a video on the other is what we are trying to avoid.

We are simply saying the Aadhar project is well conceived for what it is trying to do and basically it should be allowed to work."

(Agencies)