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­idai: Inside the World's Largest Data Management Project

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Credit: Vidyanand Kamat / Corbis

When Ranjana Sonawane, a 30-year-old housewife from Tembhli, a tribal village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, was allotted the UID number 7824-7431-7884, the team at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) would have been quite justified in feeling a little pleased with themselves. A small team of 160 people had achieved the first milestone of a very ambitious project in a very short time.

The UIDAI is a government body mandated with the task of assigning every single one of India's 1.2 billion citizens a Unique Identity (UID) number.

The scope of India's UID project is breathtaking. By 2014, the government wants half of India's population to be allotted UID numbers. To do that, the UIDAI will photograph 600 million Indians, scan 1.2 billion irises, collect 6 billion fingerprints and record 600 million addresses.

No system in the world has handled anything on this scale.

From Forbes India

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