New Delhi: The Planning Commission deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Saturday said that the Nandan Nilekani-led Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is much better than the Union Home Ministry’s proposal of capturing data regarding residents and thus improving the delivery of the government schemes.

"We have suggested that what Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is doing is actually better (than the proposal of issuing smart cards)," Plan panel Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters on the sidelines of the North-East Business Summit.

Under the UIDAI, he said, "All the details are centrally stored and you identify the person with (unique) identity number through any secured mobile telephone connection".

He was responding to questions on the proposal of the Home Ministry under which a chip-based smart card will be issued to all residents on the basis of record maintained by the National Population Register (NPR) -- a digital data base currently under preparation.

Home Minister P Chidambaram had earlier said that "the data collected by multiple registrars of the UIDAI does not meet the degree of assurance required under the NPR from the point of view of internal security".

According to Ahluwalia, "There is a big difference between the technology UIDAI is using which is based on the identity number and you will actually have online authentication. You don't have to swipe the card to authenticate yourself."

He further said whatever money has been sought for UIDAI will be realised in the form of increased efficiency.

"... if you want a platform to improve the efficiency of government schemes' delivery that money is well worth it," he said.

On duplication of work and extra burden on exchequer, Ahluwalia said, "I am not responsible for NPR. UIDAI money, I know what it is. It is well worth it...The way UIDAI is doing it, is the right way to do it."

Unlike the Home Ministry's proposal, he said, "(In UIDAI system) you don't have to swipe the card to authenticate yourself. Smart card technology is that... it can only be read by someone who actually has a card reading device."

On the fate of both the proposals, Ahluwalia said, "This will go to the EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee) and it will take a combined view. They (Home Ministry) must have given their comments."

When asked about why the Commission is so critical about the NPR project, he said, "On every project, we often raise issues. This is the job of the Planning Commission to criticize every proposal. This is constructive...way."

UIDAI was mandated to issue 200 million Aadhaar numbers or national identity cards to residents by the end of this fiscal.

Now Since the UIDAI is about the complete the mandated task, the Commission wants more resources for the authority for continuation of its work and cover remaining residents.