In a big boost to beefing up the internal security, the UPA government’s major project to create National Population Register (NPR) is likely to be completed within the next two years, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on March 17. The government is also considering a proposal of issuing Resident Identity Cards bearing the Aadhar numbers to all residents who are of age 18 years and above to help in the e-governance initiatives.
Under the NPR project, the demographic data of more than a billion people has been completed through a house to house enumeration. The scanning of all the filled-in NPR schedules has been completed. The work of creation of the digital database and collection of biometrics is now going on. The data entry (in English and regional language) of more than 54 crore people has been completed till date. The entire work is expected to be completed by mid 2013. The capture of biometrics of more than 1.4 crore persons has been completed.
The entire biometric enrollment is also expected to be completed by mid 2013. The NPR database consisting of demographic and biometric data will be sent to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for de-duplication and issue of UID Numbers (Aadhaar). After this, the Local Register of Usual Residents (LRUR) along with Aadhaar number would be published in the local areas for inviting objections and claims.
The government is also considering a proposal of issuing Resident Identity (smart) Cards (RICs) bearing the Aadhaar numbers to all usual residents who are of age 18 years and above in the country. This would be helpful in the e-governance initiatives that are contemplated based on the Aadhaar platform. Under the NPR scheme all the usual residents in the country, who are of age 18 years and above will be issued Resident Identity (smart) Cards (RICs). The first phase of this scheme is under implementation in 3331 coastal villages and Port Blair Town (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), 13 coastal States and UTs. A proposal to roll out the scheme in the rest of the country has also been cleared by the Planning Commission.
PM's South Korea visit and POSCO
The Prime Minister’s Office is in a tizzy as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s bilateral visit to South Korea (March 24-27) draws closer. The reason is that till now it has no convincing roadmap on the most important point of concern for the South Koreans: the status of Korean corporate POSCO’s investment project in Orissa, sources said.
Pulok Chatterjee, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, held a meeting on the issue with Orissa government officials on March 19. Orissa’s Chief Secretary was to attend the meeting but he had to back out because of the Italian hostages crisis and instead the meeting was attended by State’s Resident Commissioner. In this meeting, Chatterjee directed the state government to expedite the POSCO work.
POSCO got the necessary environmental clearance from the Centre in March 2011. However, till now, the state government has allotted only 2000 hectares land to POSCO, which sum-up to half of the company’s requirement. POSCO is to buy 2000 hectares from local landowners but has been unable to do so.
POSCO is India’s single biggest FDI project involving an investment of Rs 51,000 crore (over $10 billion). POSCO has been facing a policy paralysis for seven years and has not been able to even start its construction work in the last seven years since the project was approved. It has been two years since the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Orissa Government and POSCO expired and the MoU hasn’t even been renewed.
South Korea has been pressuring India for years on the POSCO issue. When the South Korean President came here as Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade in 2010, then also he had raised the POSCO issue in a big way. The PMO is hopeful that the Prime Minister will be able to give a face-saving picture on POSCO to his South Korean interlocutors during his upcoming trip, sources said. (RS)