Traceability and identity management of a billion plus people is no joke. It is in fact a nightmare for the government. The intention of getting the PAN (Personal Account Number) to be the sole identity for every Indian citizen did not fruition. This prompted the government of India to revisit this imperative with a lot more focus and also approach the problem in new ingenious ways.
While the national Unique Identification Number (UID) approach under the stewardship of Nandan Nilekani, former CEO of Infosys is to view the problem from the grassroot level, C-DoT, India’s premier computer and IT research organization has put forth an out-of-the-box approach. Get your mobile number to double up as your unique identity number. Now why did I or you not think of this before? With 442 million mobile subscribers and about 15 million joining in with each passing month, the world’s fastest growing mobile market, India, might just be the place where we could put this to test. However, the government does have some wrinkles to iron out before this plan seems feasible
First, How do you ensure a mobile phone in every Indian’s hands? If that’s un-feasible, what’s the alternative to people who are not mobile yet?
Second, even if you ensured that how will you ensure that we won’t run out of 10 digit numbers for all. If we go back in history a little, the ten digit mobile plan was put in place in 2003 to eventually cater to about 750 mobile numbers and was expected to cater to demand till 2030. It was estimated that the mobile user base would take about 3 decades to reach 750 million. However we are already on the cusp of spilling over. Increasing the mobile number length could be one idea…
Whatever the problems be, technology should eventually be able to solve it. Termed the “One Number” project, this futuristic study under the aegis of P V Acharya, C-DoT’s executive director does indeed lend a fresh approach to a problem plaguing India for some time now.