Entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani has been chosen to lead the government's ambitious project of providing its 1.1 billion-plus citizens with ID cards.
The database is expected to be the second largest citizens' database in a democracy, with China being the biggest.
The government believes the scheme, which will be finalised over three years, will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers.
It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials.
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