12/10/2014, 00.00
INDIA

Delhi wants a digital "single archive" for 1.2 billion of people

The database will consolidate public records of the whole country, from police files to identity cards. Planned the laying of optical fiber cables to 250,000 village clusters.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - India is building its own database platform to consolidate public records from across the world's second-most populous nation in a bid to modernize services. The Department of Electronics & Information Technology will develop the software for the database itself, using open-source platforms where possible.

The initiative will integrate police, court and criminal files, R.S. Sharma, secretary of the Department of Electronics & Information Technology, said in an interview. The government will also build its own platform for uniform payment, property registration and social assistance systems, he said.

Sharma and Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of software services company Infosys Ltd., helped implement the government's Aadhaar project to give every Indian a unique biometric identity. So far, 720 million people have the identities, which will be used in the databases, with the rest due to be completed in the next few months, Sharma said.

In a move that can help reduce fraud, every citizen in the nation of 1.2 billion will get access to cloud storage connected to their digital identity, enabling them to access services if they move to a different state, apply for a job or request assistance, Sharma said.

While India's Internet use is surging and the nation is forecast to surpass the U.S. as the second-largest online population after China, most people still don't have Web access to reach these new government services.

The country had 278 million Internet users as of October, leaving about a billion others off-line. Most of those people live in rural India, according to McKinsey & Co. The government plans to connect rural residents by laying optical fiber cable to 250,000 village clusters by 2016. The plan was started in 2011 and originally due to be finished by last year.

Modi's administration has vowed to complete the project, and level the access disparity between cities and villages.

 

 

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