Mr Nilekani's department has so far enrolled 20 crore (200 Million) Indians with their biometrics - his data has allegedly been described as not sound by the Home Ministry. When asked about that, Mr Nilekani diplomatically replied, "We believe that we follow due process...we have very high standards of security, we believe that it serves the purpose it does." Mr Nilekani also said that it is upto the Cabinet to decide whether his department should continue to collect biometric data, or if that exercise remains the prerogative of Mr Chidambaram's Home Ministry.

Mr Nilekani wants to extend the enrollment to all Indians - a move backed by the Planning Commission and its parent body, the Finance Ministry. But Mr Chidambaram says his ministry is already collecting biometrics for all Indian residents to set up the National Population Register or NPR, which will be the country's biggest biometric database with scans of each resident's fingerprints and irises. In addition to the duplication of work at considerable expense, Mr Chidambaram has reportedly suggested that the security of the UIDAI's database could be problematic. Others in the government have suggested it could be misused...