IAS officer Ram Sevak Sharma (MsC2/MTH/77) has been handpicked as the director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to assist its first chairman Nandan Nilekani.
According to sources, the Prime Minister's Office has given the clearance to the appointment of Sharma, the Jharkhand-cadre officer shifted unceremoniously from the IT department by the Shibu Soren government last year. UIDAI will be responsible for providing a unique identification number to every citizen of the country. The pet project of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been allotted Rs 120 crore in this year's budget.
The project is the Indian equivalent of the US social security number scheme. Each Indian citizen will get a unique identification number that will help identify him/her.
It will also do away with the need to submit different documents in case a citizen wants to avail of any service (either government or private).
Nilekani, the co-founder of Infosys, was appointed the head of the project with the status of a cabinet minister.
Sharma, at present the secretary in the state science and technology, and drinking water and sanitation departments, said: "The first ID card/number should be out in one-and-a-half years' time. The real picture will emerge only after consultation with various stakeholders."
"It will be a unique ID card /number for delivery of various social and health services among others. The Election Commission has already issued ID cards to some 60 crore voters. Our challenge will be to integrate the existing database with the new form of ID card/number," said Sharma, visibly elated over the news.
"Moreover, it is also challenging to see as how technology stops multiplicity, swapping or theft of the ID card/number," Sharma said.
Sharma, who holds masters degree in mathematics from IIT, Kanpur, and a degree in computer science from California University, has held posts in six state departments in the past seven years. These included IT, human resource development, panchayati raj, personnel and drinking water and sanitation.
He was also principal secretary to the governor from January 1, 2003, to June 11, 2003.