June 27, 2009


Technology developed at IIT Kanpur to be used for National ID card project

The national Unique Identity Card is the smart card is based on the specifications of Smart Card Operating System for Transport Applications (SCOSTA.) [Source:BS] Now, SCOSTA is of interest to me as I have personally seen it developing in the lab back in 2002. SCOSTA has been completely developed at IIT Kanpur. It was the M.Tech thesis Ravinder, who was senior to me. Ravinder belonged to the rare species who manage 10/10 without sweating too hard. The professors involved were Prof Rajat Moona, Prof Deepak Gupta and Prof Manindra Agrawal ("Primes is in P" fame) all from the Computer Science department.

You can check the presentation by Prof Moona to learn more about SCOSTA.

If you need the proof that world-class technology can be developed in India, you don't need to any further. I wish the management gurus of IIM learn something from this. IIMs recently chose Prometric ETS (the company which conducts GRE) to conduct computerized CAT. Apparently, it simply gives you one of the 30 question papers with random ordering of questions, and not completely online and adaptive test like GRE. From whatever little I have learnt about technology in last 10 years, I can assure you developing operating system for smart card is incredibly harder compared to conducting computerized exam however sophisticated.

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Great article. Thanks for the information.

On a different note, I read about the astronomical cost of this project in newspapers[150,000 crores]. Are you aware of any source outlining the details of these costs ? It just seems way too bloated to me.

I found the number to be Rs 10,000 Crore. (Check my other post on this topic.) $2 bn doesn't seem outrageously high.
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