While not busy being the destination of Westerners seeking spiritual growth and the birthplace of the beloved Bollywood song and dance flick, apparently India is home to some 1.2 billion people -- many of whom possess no proof of identification whatsoever. According to The Times
(UK), less than seven per cent of the population are registered for income tax, and the voting lists are terribly inaccurate. Hoping to bring the nation's census data into the 21st century, India has created the Unique Identification Authority. Under the direction of Nandan Nilekani, one of the founders of Infosys
, the plan is to outfit every one of the nation's citizens with a biometric
ID card that contains personal data, fingerprint or iris scans, and possibly even criminal records and credit histories. Gathering the data is projected to cost at least $4.9 billion, a figure that's likely to soar once the ball gets rolling. While the Government expects that the first cards will be issued within 18 months, analysts say that project won't likely reach "critical mass" for at least four years.