India is planning to provide its 1.1 billion-plus citizens with ID cards.
Entrepreneur, Nandan Nilekani has been chosen to lead the ambitious project which will be the second largest citizens’ database in a democracy, with China being the biggest.
The government believes the scheme, which will be finalised over three years, will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers.
It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials.
Like Britain’s £5billion ID cards plan, due to roll out in 2011/12, India’s scheme is not without controversy.