Chidambaram effect: Government asks UIDAI to accept data from RGI

UIDAI have allegedly refused to accept data collected by the Registrar General, which made the home minister to raise the issue at the highest level

New Delhi: Faced with strong protests from Home Minister P Chidambaram, the Union government on Thursday directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to accept the biometric data collected by Registrar-General of India (RGI) under the Home Ministry (MHA) to give unique ID number to every citizen, reports PTI.

The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet here, a top government source told PTI.

The move came a week after Chidambaram wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining that RGI's National Population Register (NPR) project is "almost at a standstill" due to the refusal of Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI to accept the NPR data for de-duplication and generation of Aadhaar numbers.

This was for the second time that Chidambaram took up at the highest level the issue of capturing the biometric data of the population by UIADI and its alleged non- cooperation with the RGI project.

The UIDAI comes under the nodal authority of the Planning Commission.

In January last, the Planning Commission and the Home Ministry had been locked in a tussle over the unique identification number project and both of them have taken the issue to the Prime Minister for a solution, which led to a temporary truce under which UIDAI had promised to accept the NPR data.

"Despite directions from the government, the UIDAI is objecting to the conduct of the NPR camps in certain states and is also refusing to accept the biometric data of NPR for de-duplication and generation of Aadhaar numbers," Chidambaram wrote in his latest letter to the Prime Minister.

The Home Minister said he had taken up the issue with UIDAI chairman Nilekani and Home Secretary RK Singh took up the issue with Director General and Mission Director, UIDAI.

"However, despite our best efforts the issues remain unresolved....the MHA is keen to complete the NPR project in two years as announced by the Finance Minister in his Budget speech. This would be possible only if there is complete cooperation from all stakeholders, especially the UIDAI and the state governments," he said.

Government had taken a number of important decisions concerning internal security after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. One of these was that the NPR project would be taken up in selected coastal villages on a priority basis and then rolled out in a phased manner in all coastal villages and towns as part of the measures to enforce coastal security.

Subsequently, the government decided to implement this project across the country.

The status of the project as on date is that the coastal NPR project has been completed to a large extent and the data required for the rest of the country has been collected along with Census 2011 and digitization of the same is proceeding at a rapid pace.

"However, regrettably the collection of photographs and biometrics has been facing hurdles at every step on account of the approach of the UIDAI which, it seems, has failed to appreciate the core purpose of NPR," Chidambaram said.

The UIDAI had initially been given the mandate to cover 10 crore population. This was subsequently raised to 20 crore.

When the matter of extending the mandate to covering the entire country had come up, the Home Ministry raised serious concerns about various aspects regarding the unsuitability of the UIDAI data from internal security point of view.

Considering the concerns, the government took a number of important decisions on 27th January this year regarding the implementation of the NPR and UIDAI projects.

The crux of the decision was that as the purpose of UIDAI and NPR are different, the two projects should proceed simultaneously and that each project would accept the biometric data collected by the other, without duplication.


Government, Congress defends Chidambaram

Media reports are giving an impression that the case of P Chidambaram's election is a criminal trial, alleges Congress. Earlier, the Madras High Court declined to dismiss a petition challenging the home minister's election to Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The UPA Government and Congress on Thursday came in defence of Home Minister P Chidambaram rejecting opposition demands for his resignation in the wake of the Madras High Court order that declined to dismiss a petition challenging his election to Lok Sabha in 2009, reports PTI.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid ridiculed the BJP for demanding Chidambaram's resignation over the issue.
"Should the Home Minister get a resignation printed because they demand it on a daily basis or should he give it on the internet? BJP wakes up in the morning and says that the Home Minister should resign.

"God knows how many times the Home Minister would have resigned had he accepted whatever BJP said," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

Party General Secretary Digvijay Singh also backed the Home Minister on the issue.

"What case he (Chidambaram) has lost? It's an election petition. He has not lost a case, which has anything to do with his working as the Home Minister," Singh said.

On AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa's statement that Chidambaram should quit as his continuance will be a "blot on democracy", the AICC leader said, "As far as Jayalalithaa is concerned, it is a political issue. The Election Commission has declared Chidambaram as elected and that is it."

Noting that elections can only be challenged through an election petition, Khurshid said that media reports were giving an impression of it being a criminal trial, which is not the case.

He said that it is only through an election petition that it can be probed whether there is any flaw or wrong-doing in an election, any violation of the election law.

"Issues are raised in an election petition, trial happens and then a decision is taken after evidence. Then an appeal is made. Even an appeal can be filed in the Supreme Court on this order. Even if any decision comes, anybody can file an appeal against it," Khurshid said.

He said, "Some mistake is being made when the word trial is being used."

"Somehow an impression is being given that it is a criminal trial. It is not that. It's an election petition trial. Just like there is a civil trial, there is an election petition trial and some order has been passed in that regard," Khurshid said.

The reactions came as the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today declined to dismiss a petition challenging the election Chidambaram to Lok Sabha in 2009 but struck down two charges of malpractices against him.

Disposing of a plea by Chidambaram seeking dismissal of the petition filed by AIADMK's Raja Kannappan, who lost to him from Sivaganga constituency by a margin of 3,354 votes, Justice K Venkatraman ordered removal of two of the 29 charges.

The two charges pertain to alleged use of bank officials and banks in relation to Chidambaram's election.


Google says be ready for suspected state-sponsored cyber attacks

Many Gmail users have seen a warning message in a pink coloured bar saying, "We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now."

New Delhi: Search engine giant Google has warned its users that their accounts may be "targeted" by state-sponsored cyber attacks and asked them to take immediate steps to protect their data, reports PTI.

In the official company blog, Google Vice President Security (Engineering) Eric Grosse said, "We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third parties to log into users' accounts unauthorised...Today, we are taking that a step further for a subset of our users, who we believe may be the target of state-sponsored attacks".

Many Gmail users have seen a warning message in a pink coloured bar saying, "We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now."

"When we have specific intelligence - either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts - we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors," Grosse said.

In an emailed statement, a Google spokesperson said the warning was developed to supplement the company's existing account security technologies and notifications.

"We believe it is our duty to be proactive in notifying users about attacks or potential attacks so that they can take action to protect their information. And we will continue to update these notifications based on the latest information," he added.

Grosse clarified that the warning message does not necessarily mean that the account has been hijacked.

"It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware...and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account," he added.

Grosse did not elucidiate on how the company ascertains that this activity is state-sponsored. .

Google alerts users of suspected state-sponsored cyber attacks

According to Grosse, the company's detailed analysis -- as well as victim reports -- strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.

The warning comes amid increasing concerns about 'Flame virus' which has been spreading in the Middle East and indications of cyber warfare impacting the US and many other countries.

Grosse suggested that users should create a unique password mixing capital and lowercase letters, punctuation marks and numbers; enable 2-step verification as additional security; and update their browsers, operating systems, plug-ins, and document editors.

"Attackers often send links to fake sign-in pages to try to steal your password, so be careful about where you sign in to Google," Grosse said.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)