Nilekani may get EPFO database for UID project

As Nandan Nilekani starts work on providing a unique identity card to India's citizens, the Labour Ministry has offered him a ready database to begin with.

The Labour Ministry, it is learnt, has suggested to him that he can start his work by providing identity cards to the nearly 4.2 crore subscribers of the Employment Provident Fund as the EPFO possesses a readymade database of its members.

Sources said Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Labour Secretary Sudha Pillai had a meeting with Nilekani to discuss the proposal. Besides the EPFO, the Ministry could also offer the database of over 1.2 crore members of the Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

"This is an opportunity for us to get ID cards for the subscribers of EPFO and ESI. We would like the EPFO subscribers to be first beneficiaries of the Unique Identity Card (UID) project," a senior Labour Ministry official told The Indian Express.

The issuance of unique identity cards to provident fund subscribers would be an added advantage to them as the EPFO is already planning to make EPF accounts available online by the end of this year.

The Ministry has also sounded out the EPFO to keep the database updated.

The Labour Ministry's suggestion comes even as the UID authority that Nilekani heads looks at existing databases of PAN card users, passport and driving licenses holders, ration card owners, and people having household gas connections to start the ambitious project with.

The Labour Ministry also hopes to take the UID's help to issue identity cards to over 45 crore workers in the unorganised sector, a legal obligation the Government has to fulfill under the Unorganised Sector Workers' Social Security Act.

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