|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
|Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)|
|Formed||January – 2009|
|Agency executive||Nandan Nilekani, Chairman|
Aadhaar is a 12-digit digital identity which can be verified online instantly. It is the national identification number of India and is assigned to all residents of India for life-time on voluntary basis. It is not a proof of citizenship. It only guarantees identity; not rights, benefits or entitlements. Aadhaar program is operated by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), an authority of the Government of India. It was established in January – 2009 under the Planning Commission of India. Aadhaar is expected to play the most prominent role in India Reforms from 2014 onwards.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Properties of AN
- 3 Authentication of identities
- 4 Process comparison: Aadhaar, Passport and DL
- 5 Rationale and goals
- 6 Existing IDs and problem areas
- 7 Enrollment
- 8 Acceptance and applications
- 9 Effects
- 10 Impedance
- 11 Budget, cost and benefits
- 12 Gallery
- 13 Technology
- 14 Problem areas
- 15 News and Events
- 16 See also
- 17 External links
- 18 References
- Residents of India (called Aadhaar)
- Corporate entities (Corporate-UID) for company, bank, NGO, trust, political party etc.
So far UIDAI has made progress on Aadhaar Number (AN) only. Work on Corporate-UID is yet to be published.
However, Corporate-UID has been provisioned within 12-digit UID number system. Corporate-UID is supposed to produce the similar effect for corporate entities as Aadhaar does to a person i.e. identification and traceability of transactions. It is supposed to bring transparency on financial transactions, donations; and to prevent corruption, money laundering, benami transactions (i.e. under a fictitious name), allocation of natural resources like land, spectrum, mining of sand, iron-ore, coal-blocks, etc. Similar identifier ISO 9362 (Business Identifier Code - BIC) exists for international business transactions (financial and non-financial).
UIDAI stores identities in its main database server called the Central Identity Data Repository (CIDR). Aadhaar identity is like internal passport to access various services in India. Aadhaar enrollment commenced in September 2010. Corporate-UID enrollment is yet to begin.
Aadhaar serves the purpose if Aadhaar-holder verbally tells the AN and it gets instantly verified online at the point of service, through KYC or E-KYC process in a paperless way; which provides high reliability of identity. Only show of paper Aadhaar letter provides low reliability of identity as it can be easily faked.
Aadhaar program has already crossed the critical-mass as of Nov – 2013 by assigning half-a-billion (i.e. 500 million) AN and linking over 50 million bank accounts for Direct Benefit Transfer for various social security benefits across many states. Half the population of India (600 million i.e. 60 crore) has been assigned AN on 09-March-2014. By 01-Jan-2014, half the nation (289 districts across various states) has been covered under Aadhaar-DBT for various benefits.
Aadhaar program is the largest biometric database in the world. Currently it has 750 million people (7.5 billion fingerprints, 1.5 billion iris image, 750 million face photo) with 10 peta byte of data. It will reach the entire population of 1.25 billion people by Dec – 2015 at the current rate of enrollment, 15 PB of data and over 200 trillion biometric matches per day.
Properties of AN
Aadhaar Number (AN) is a 12-digit national identification number assigned to residents of India for lifetime. Its format is 1234-5678-9012 where the 11-digits are used as a sequence and the rightmost 1-digit as an error detection check-sum. It is not a proof of citizenship. It only guarantees identity; not rights, benefits or entitlements. AN is a digital identity, instantly verifiable online at the point of service (PoS), at anytime, anywhere, in a paperless way. It is assigned only to humans, not to corporate entities like companies or non-governmental organisations, unlike the PAN card. The government expects that it will enable under-privileged people to access basic rights and social security benefits, which they have been deprived so far due to lack of identity.
AN is designed to enable government agencies to deliver retail public services securely based on biometric data (fingerprint, iris scan and face photo), along with demographic data (name, age, gender, address, parent/ spouse name, mobile phone number) of a person. AN is portable, free from limitations of physical presence of a person at a given place. Thus is can be used for casting vote from anywhere using mobile phone or personal computer, availing social security benefits from anywhere e.g. drawing PDS ration from any shop etc.
AN also works as a financial address, i.e. it works as a bank account number. This is designed to help spread low cost, ubiquitous, branchless banking services in rural areas - called micro-ATM, as part of the Financial Inclusion initiative.
AN is valid all over India as a proof of identity, age and address. It is immensely helpful to migrant workers for employment and social security benefits. In case of change of personal information (mobile number, residence), the same can be updated with proof at Aadhaar Kendra, the permanent field-office.
AN is stored in a centralized database (CIDR) and linked to the basic demographics and biometric information – photograph, ten finger-prints and both iris – of each individual. It is verifiable online with the database server (CIDR) instantaneously, at a low cost. It is portable and robust enough to identify duplicate and fake identities from government and private databases. It is a randomly generated number, is sparsely populated in the database, designed not to be guessable, with no associated intelligence, and no profiling information such as caste, creed, religion or language. Since Aadhaar uses 11-digit for sequence, therefore it has an address space of 1011 (100 billion). So AN can be assigned to 100 billion residents, and is designed not to get used up in the next 500 years. Upon the death of a person, the Aadhaar database record is marked as 'inactive', and is never reused nor deleted.
The de-duplication capability (uniqueness) of AN is theoretically 99.9% and practically 100% due to combination of multiple demographic and biometric attributes.
Authentication of identities
The power of Aadhaar Number (AN) vests with its instant online validation at the point of service (PoS) with demographic and biometrics attributes at anytime from anywhere in paperless way. No other ID in India has this feature. The point of service (PoS) means the service provider under license from UIDAI can verify Aadhaar identities online, unlike only passport office can verify passport and only RTO can verify driving license. It has dependence on minimum 2G internet access. Authentication devices and PoS will become ubiquitous by 2014.
It is designed to be secure, auditable, non-repudiable, and consent-based (by biometrics or a one-time password (OTP)). OTP is sent by CIDR server to registered mobile phone number or email ID of the Aadhaar-holder. There are mainly 2 types of authentication with different combination of attributes:
- KYC: On consent, the service provider inputs the AN + Demographic data + Biometric or OTP, and receives 'Yes' or 'No' response from CIDR database server.
- E-KYC: On consent, the service provider inputs the AN + Biometric or OTP, and receives demographic data (photo, name, gender, address, date of birth, mobile number, email-id i.e. receives digital copy of the Aadhaar letter) from CIDR database server. Biometric data of resident is never shared by CIDR.
The authentication data requested and received use encrypted communication from machine to machine through an application programming interface (API) without human intervention. Following authentication, the received KYC data gets stored in the system of the service provider in the required data-format along with audit-track. Then this data is processed and service is provided to the customer immediately.
The service provider decides what demographic and biometric attributes it wants to use for a given service. For example, iris and multiple fingers along with demographics may be used for high value transactions. Similarly, few demographic attributes with OTP only (no biometrics) may be used for low value transactions.
UIDAI does not support authentication requests thru paper letter, email or telephonic.
Process comparison: Aadhaar, Passport and DL
Passport is an identity document recognized internationally to access various services like travel, employment, tourism etc. Aadhaar is considered as internal passport in India for identity and to access various services like travel, employment, tourism, attendance, LPG subsidy, PDS ration, scholarship, social security, pension, insurance, bank account, passport etc. The processes to obtain fresh Passport, Aadhaar and Driving License of almost all States have been compared in the following table. The table compares various data-points - Biometric, Demographic, Documents required and miscellaneous points.
|Data Type||Parameters||Aadhaar||Passport||Driving Licence|
|Biometric-4||Identification mark on Body||No||Yes||Yes|
|Biometric-7||Medical Test (BG, Vision, Diseases etc.)||No||No||Yes|
|Document-1||Photo ID Proof||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Other-1||Voluntary to obtain||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Other-3||Validity for life||Yes||No||No|
|Other-4||Verifiable anytime at Point of Service||Yes||No||No|
|Other-6||Given to all residents||Yes||No||Yes|
|Other-9||Delivered by Registered India Post||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Other-10||Police verification at home||No||Yes||No|
Rationale and goals
In order to avail social security benefits as well as government-regulated services (e.g. bank account, insurance, mobile SIM, driving license, vehicle registration etc.); compliance to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) conditions are mandatory. The minimum KYC consists of 3 proofs:
- Proof of Identity (name with face photograph),
- Proof of Age (date of birth or estimated age),
- Proof of Residence (presently staying).
As of January 2014, India has population of 1.25 billion, about 1 billion mobile phones, 640,000 villages, 75% literacy, 2.5% (30 million) income tax payer, 4% (50 million) passport, 12% (150 million) driving license, less than 20% (250 million) bank account, 33% (400 million) migrant laborers and 60% (750 million) very poor people i.e. they live under Rs. 100 ($2) per day income and starve at least one meal everyday. About 80% (1 billion) people do not hold identity documents to satisfy minimum KYC.
The Union Government spends Rs. 3,000 billion ($50 billion) on various social security subsidies (see table below 'Social Security Budget 2013-14'). In addition, various state governments also spend on specific social security programs. As per various estimates, about 40% to 85% of social security benefits have been plagued with fictitious and multiple identities due to lack of standard identity system that is verifiable instantly at the point of service.
There are over 400 million (40 crore) migrant laborers (internal) who are poor, landless, not educated or illiterate. These migrant workers do not exist on the government's databases, despite having worked for years in another district of the same state or another state of India. Lack of identity prevents them from basic rights and social security benefits.
Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility thru direct benefit transfer. It provides access and options to rural and poor people. It helps bring transparency and eliminate corruption, leakage and inefficiency.
The following table shows financial size of the social security benefits / subsidies funded by the Union government of India. The table does not cover other programs operated by various State governments, see Public welfare in India. The social security benefits / subsidies offered by various state governments is estimated to be above Rs.600 billion (US$10 billion). Thus total subsidies become Rs.3,600 billion (US$60 billion).
|Region||Social Security Program||Billion Rupee||Billion US$|
|Pan India||Total Subsidy for FY-2013-14 (approx)||3,600||60.00|
|Pan India||Food Security (PDS) (subsidy)||1,250||20.83|
|Pan India||Petroleum (subsidy)||970||16.17|
|Rural||Child Development (ICDS) (non-subsidy)||177||2.95|
|Rural||Drinking water and sanitation (non-subsidy)||152||2.53|
|Rural||Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) (non-subsidy)||151||2.52|
|Rural||Maternal and child malnutrition (non-subsidy)||3||0.05|
|States||Various Programs of State Govts (subsidy/non-subsidy)||600||10.00|
Reserve Bank of India has planned Aadhaar-linked bank accounts for all adults of India by January 2016 to meet its commitment on Financial Inclusion. It will greatly transform India by preventing the poor people falling into debt-traps of unlawful money-lenders, cashless transactions, elimination of poverty and corruption.
Basic Aadhaar-enabled Bank Account (AeBA) is a Basic savings account (zero-balance) where a Debit-card is issued and Aadhaar number is used as the account number. It can be instantly opened (like prepaid bankcard). Transactions operate with fingerprint authentication only; as indicated by Aadhaar-logo on the card. PIN is not issued to zero-balance AeBA because it is aimed at financial inclusion of unbanked, illiterate and rural people. Bankcard operates at micro-ATM and other ATMs equipped with fingerprint scanner. Presently passbook is not issued to these accounts due to infrastructure problem. Transactions like deposit, withdrawal, transfer, balance-check can be performed. AeBA is used for direct payment of social security benefits such as pensions, scholarships, NREGA wages, healthcare, subsidy for LPG, kerosene, PDS ration, fertilizers etc.
Generally, a micro-ATM consists of a laptop computer or smart-phone equipped with 2G-internet, fingerprint scanner, receipt-printer, speaker and power backup (solar / battery). It is human-operated by commission agent called Banking Correspondent (BC) so that illiterate customers do not face problems of ATM machine operations. BCs are generally chemist-shops, provision shops or mobile-vans. It is similar to the commission agent model of prepaid mobile phone recharge.
Some banks issue photo-bankcards, that are boon to rural people and migrant workers because it works not only as bankcard but also as identity card. RuPay card by Indian payment-bridge NPCI and Saral Money Visa are two prominent AeBA bankcards.
Once bankcards become common in rural areas, then whole India will become a nation of cashless-transactions like USA with higher transparency and accountability. Cash is used for bribery and corruption.
Once rural and poor people get the bank account then they become eligible to avail bank loans for farming and domestic purpose at 10% per year interest rate. It would be a great transformation of rural and poor India. Currently village money-lenders lend at shylock-interest-rates (10% to 30% per month i.e. 120% to 360% per year) which results into many social evils. The related social evils are debt-trap, bonded-labor for generations, poor become landless, homeless destitute and children get deprived of education as they become bonded-laborer, families get shattered and many farmers commit suicide every year due to impractical, blood-sucking loan-interest burden. Thus financial inclusion will put stop to unlawful, blood-sucking money-lending business and the associated social evils.
India is not the first country to implement the banking service for rural and under-privileged. It is being implemented after studying various banking systems in the world which have been successfully operational for the past several decades. Some of these countries are Bangladesh, Philippines, Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Chile etc.
Aadhaar-enabled Service Delivery
Various financial as well as non-financial services are being made Aadhaar-enabled, called Aadhaar-enabled Service Delivery (AeSD) in phased manner. By 2014-01-01, half the nation (289 districts across various states) has been covered under DBT for subsidized LPG. By August – 2013, 6.3 million duplicate connections were detected by Aadhaar-seeding and cancelled. Thus government saved $1 billion on reduced import by mid-2013.
|1||Bank Account - New||All India||Optional|
|2||Bank Account for DBT||All India - in phases||Compulsory|
|3||Bank transactions thru micro-ATM||All India - in phases||Compulsory|
|4||Mobile SIM card||All India||Optional|
|6||Provident Fund||All India||Optional|
|7||Attendance - office||Planning Commission, Maharashtra||Optional|
|8||NREGA worksite attendance||All India - in phases||Compulsory|
|9||Attendance - school staff||Maharashtra, Jharkhand||Optional|
|10||Salary/ wages payments||All India (NREGA), Maharashtra||Compulsory|
|11||Food Security / PDS Ration||Delhi, Andhra Pradesh||Compulsory|
|12||LPG subsidy||All India - in phases||Optional|
|13||Kerosene subsidy||Rajasthan, Andhra - in phases||Compulsory|
|14||Health - Janani Suraksha Yojana||Delhi, Jharkhand, Chandigarh, Maharashtra,||Compulsory|
|15||Social security pension - old-age||Delhi, Jharkhand, Chandigarh, Maharashtra,||Compulsory|
|16||Social security pension - widow||Delhi, Jharkhand, Chandigarh, Maharashtra,||Compulsory|
|17||Scholarships||Delhi, Jharkhand, Chandigarh, Maharashtra,||Compulsory|
|18||Registration of land & building||Delhi, Jharkhand||Optional|
|19||Registration of birth||Delhi, Jharkhand||Optional|
|20||Registration of marriage||Delhi, Jharkhand||Optional|
|21||Registration of death||Delhi, Jharkhand||Optional|
|22||Registration of tenancy||Delhi, Jharkhand||Optional|
|23||Registration of students||Delhi, Jharkhand||Optional|
|24||Registration of vehicles (RTO)||All India||Optional|
|25||Driving License (RTO)||All India||Optional|
A pre-existing or new bank account can be enabled as AeBA by seeding (linking) it with Aadhaar number. Seeding makes mapping information stored onto NPCI payment-gateway, that facilitates the subsidy payment. The seeding helps identify the genuine and eligible beneficiary, and prevents duplicate and non-existent (fake, dead) persons. One can link bank account as self-service option thru ATM kiosk, Internet, bank website, telephone or by providing a copy of the Aadhaar letter to bank. Bank links the account with Aadhaar number after online verification thru RASF (Remote Aadhaar Sharing Framework link).
Eligibility of beneficiary is applied based on rules and is cross-checked with other related databases which are also Aadhaar-linked. This approach is designed to improve the audit trail, add efficiency; prevent corruption, middlemen and delayed payments; eliminate non-existent, duplicate and ineligible beneficiaries. It results in direct benefit access to the eligible people; and saves multi-billion rupee from corruption annually.
Tangible benefits become visible from 2014. A report of UBS Securities published in Jan – 2014 shows that Aadhaar-DBT can save 1.2% of GDP. GDP of India is $1,800 billion, thus the saving is $22 billion (Rs. 1.32 trillion), which ultimately translates to 33% savings on overall social security spending.
Another objectives of Aadhaar Number (AN) is to use it as an effective governance tool - to bring transparency, efficiency and weed out the bogus beneficiaries from social security programs e.g. social security pensions, scholarships, public health, NREGA, subsidy on PDS Ration, Kerosene, LPG etc. Thus Aadhaar is expected to save public exchequer from bogus beneficiaries up to Rs. 1.1 Trillion (Rs. 1100 billion) by the year 2020 as per study report of National Institute of Public Finance and Planning. 
In 1980s pointing towards the widespread corruption in social security programs in India, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had made a famous statement in Parliament that only 15% of benefits reach the poor people; the remaining 85% are eaten-away by the corrupt officials and middlemen. Similarly, the World Bank Chief said that Aadhaar will help eradicate poverty in India.
The stand-alone databases of social security services can not interact with each other due to lack of a unique identifier like AN. Thus stand-alone databases do not have ability to detect and prevent fictitious and ineligible beneficiaries. Therefore, AN is aimed at eliminating retail corruption in the public domain which has affected social security programs since independence. In India, about 750 million (60%) people starve everyday for at least one meal.
Prevention of corruption
Although Aadhaar can prevent retail-corruption to much extent, yet it is not capable of preventing wholesale-corruption like allocation of coal-blocks, 2G spectrum, mining of Iron-ore, sand, onion hoarding etc. Corporate-UID is required to prevent such wholesale-corruptions and this provision is already inbuilt in UIDAI Number System, yet implementation is pending.
Prevention of identity fraud
Identity frauds such as identity theft (using the identity of another person, dead or alive) and identity document forgery (fake IDs created on fictitious person, also called benami) has been a common practice in India. The scan, super-imposition and color-print functions of ubiquitous printers have made paper-based and plastic card-based frauds much easy. Identity fraud is committed for financial gain or due to compulsion. Identity fraud committed for financial gains are mostly benami companies and benami bank accounts used for bribery and money laundering. Identity fraud committed on compulsions is either due to lack of a person's own ID documents, or due to the intention of not using one's own ID.
In the telecoms sector companies paid a Rs. 7 billion (Rs. 7 billion) penalty to the telecoms regulator on fake KYC IDs in 2011. The examples also can be used to other areas such as PDS ration and kerosene, subsided LPG, welfare pensions, scholarships etc.
There are 400 million workers who work in other states (internal migrant workers) in unorganized sectors like construction and farming. They need mobile phones to keep in touch with their family and employers. They do not possess minimum KYC IDs (Proof of Identity, Proof of Age, Proof of Residence) to procure a mobile phone SIM card. Telecommunications service providers (TSP) in India ask for minimum KYC IDs, where the Proof of Residence (PoR) must be the local address only. Since they normally stay in shared shanties without any valid documents, they cannot produce PoR. So they fraudulently purchase available IDs of other persons at a high price in order to obtain a mobile SIM. Prisoners, criminals and terrorists never procure mobile SIMs using their own IDs due to obvious reasons of getting tracked.
The employees of TSPs are generally under pressure to achieve sales targets. Hence there are cases where one set of IDs submitted by a genuine customer to procure just one SIM has been reused 100 times to issue 100 SIMs fraudulently.
Some photocopy shops fraudulently scan and make extra copies of identity papers and sell them at a premium, leading to identity fraud. Some prospective employers do not destroy the papers of rejected candidates, and some times that goes into wrong hands leading to identity fraud.
Thousands of fictitious employees are found on payrolls of government and public sectors each year. In 2013-14, 29,000 ghost employees of Jammu and Kashmir government have been detected, 1,588 of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and 400 of Air India including some ghost pilots have been detected. It not only causes billions of rupee of monetary corruption and loss of public work but also it poses grave security threat to the nation. We can imagine terrorists occupying the position of ghost pilots to carry out terror attacks like 9/11 WTO-New York and Pentagon. Corrupts take away all the monetary benefits worth billions of rupee like salary, allowances, pensions, PF etc. Such corruptions can be prevented by seeding Aadhaar with employee recruitment process, salary payment, provident fund and pension. Some private sector companies have adopted Aadhaar in order to avoid such problems.
Existing IDs and problem areas
Traditionally existing IDs in India have been token-based i.e. paper and plastic-based driving license, passport, PAN card, voter ID etc. None of these IDs have the feature of being lifetime digital identity that can be verified instantly in public domain at anytime anywhere for uniqueness and real existence. Moreover, as of 2013, only 150 million hold driving license, 50 million people hold passport and 30 million pay taxes, and these are mutually inclusive. These IDs do not qualify the generic all-purpose ID for life. These IDs expire at certain intervals, for various reasons, and need to be re-applied with payment for fresh-issuance or renewal. The identification number on these IDs changes with each renewal. Some IDs are not accepted across states, and people are asked to provide local ID. These IDs (except voter ID) are generally possessed by urban higher-income group. The rural and poor, who are largest number, do not possess it. Hence these do not serve the purpose of providing minimum KYC to a billion people. Others do have some ID yet not sufficient for minimum KYC. Women and children of well-to-do families in rural and tribal areas also generally lack KYC IDs.
Traditional IDs are not biometric based. Moreover, these plastic or paper-based IDs are easily reproducible with modified and fake information (such as by scan, super-imposition and print functions of ubiquitous printers). Thus these easily lead to identity theft and identity fraud.
Photocopy of IDs of various people are taken fraudulently or stolen from various places (e.g. photocopy shops, employment applications), then multiple copies are made and sold to needy people at high price. Since very large number of people in India do not hold minimum KYC IDs, therefore they buy such identity-theft papers to procure mobile SIM. At least 100 million mobile SIMs in India, currently in use, have been procured on identity-theft and Identity-fraud.
The driving license cannot be issued to a person below 18 years. It is not verifiable online instantly in public domain. Obtaining it is costly and lengthy process for the general public, and only 150 million hold it. Fake driving licenses also exist.
Although PAN is issued for the holder's lifetime, yet it is meant only for income tax payers. It is not verifiable online instantly in public domain. There are only 30 million income tax payers, yet 170 million PANs have been issued. Obtaining PAN is a costly and lengthy process, and millions of PAN cards are suspected to have a fake user, fake holder or fake card due to lack of biometrics and instant verification in public domain. Hence the Finance Ministry has started linking PAN with Aadhaar in order to eliminate fake users and fake cards, so that it can prevent income tax-evasion at higher slabs.
Ration cards are issued one per family, and every family does not hold one. It is not verifiable online instantly in public domain. It does not help migrant workers when they move to another location. Millions of ration cards are either fake or defunct, yet these are used as ID.
Voter ID cannot be issued to a person below 18 years. It is not verifiable online instantly in public domain. Names get deleted from the voter-list from time to time for various reasons. Voter ID becomes invalid once the name of that serial number is deleted. Photo and other data on voter ID is generally not clear and jumbled. Millions of fake and bogus voter IDs exist. It is not unique because some persons have multiple. It can be misused after death of the holder.
Therefore, there has been a need to provide instantly verifiable identity to all residents of India.
Process is almost similar to obtaining a fresh passport. Enrollment is voluntary and free of cost. When a person desires to obtain Aadhaar identity, he or she has to submit a prescribed enrollment form attached with minimum KYC documents (i.e. proof of identity, age, residence) to a UIDAI appointed registrar. If, for example, a person from a village does not have KYC IDs, then a recognized Introducer (generally a village head) can introduce and certify his or her PoI, PoA and PoR. Introducers are appointed by UIDAI based on certain criteria and conditions.
On completion of paper formalities, the biometric scanning (2 iris, 10 fingers, facial photo) is done by the operator and a printed acknowledgement is given to the applicant. Then scanned data, along with the application form, is sent to appropriate authorities for verification and final processing. It takes about three months to get an Aadhaar number on successful processing.
As self-service, it is faster to download the "E-Aadhaar" letter (pdf copy) from the UIDAI portal after 3 months than await the postal delivery of Aadhaar letter, which may take 6 to 9 months presently.
UIDAI versus NPR
UIDAI has been mandated to enroll 600 million people in its assigned territory. Similarly, the Census Operations group (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) has been mandated to enroll the remaining 650 million people in its assigned territory under the National Population Register (NPR) program. Although an enrollment of 650 million is done by Census Operations, the collected data is given to the UIDAI for generation of Aadhaar numbers. Thus UIDAI generates Aadhaar numbers for the whole of India.
UIDAI has no role to play in management of NPR enrollment centres.
The UIDAI territory for enrollment includes Delhi, Himachal, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra, Pondichery, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Tripura, etc. The Census Operations territory for enrollment includes Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam, etc.
As of October 2013, a large volume of scanned biometric data have been rejected by UIDAI due to poor quality, thus causing delay and inconvenience to the public.
Status of AN enrollment and generation
The total number of Aadhaar enrollment as of March–2014 is over 750 million (75 crore) and is going at the rate of about 1 million per day. The total number of Aadhaar Number (AN) processed and assigned as of 10-March–2014 is over 601 million (60.19 crore). This is over 50% of the population of India. 
The following table displays the progress of assigned AN (state-wise). The up-to-date information is available on the official website of UIDAI.
|Serial||State / Union Territory||Population (2011)||Assigned AN||% of population|
|21||Jammu and Kashmir||12,548,926||1,608,779||12.82%|
|29||Dadra and Nagar Haveli||342,853||195,495||57.02%|
|30||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||379,944||163,536||43.04%|
|31||Daman and Diu||242,911||161,460||66.47%|
Acceptance and applications
Delhi is the first State to achieve 100% AN enrollment in September 2013. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made Aadhaar and E-KYC as a standard proof of identity and residence for banking. Axis Bank is the first bank to make all its branches Aadhaar and E-KYC compliant from October 2013. Without producing any paper-based identity document, an Aadhaar-holder can open bank account, by just providing Aadhaar number and validating with fingerprint through E-KYC process.
LPG companies use AN for KYC, to pay subsidy and eliminate fake beneficiaries. In 2013 it saved one billion dollar from fake beneficiaries.
The government estimates that Aadhaar will save it 1.1 trillion by 2020.
Private Sector company Trident uses Aadhaar for employee recruitment and salary payment in order to check fraud and reduce cost.
Future applications of Aadhaar can be to cast vote from anywhere, avail social security benefits from anywhere e.g. drawing PDS ration from any shop etc.
|Regulator||Reserve Bank of India (RBI)||Yes||Yes|
|Regulator||Insurance Regulatory and Dev Authority (IRDA)||Yes||Yes|
|Regulator||Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)||Yes||Yes|
|Regulator||Pensions Funds Reg and Dev Authority (PFRDA)||Yes||Yes|
|Regulator||Forward Markets Commission||Yes|
|Regulator||Telecom Reg Authority of India (TRAI)||Yes||Yes|
|Central Government||Min of Finance, Dept of Revenue||Yes||Yes|
|Central Government||Dept of Telecommunications||Yes||Yes|
|Central Government||Min of Petroleum (LPG)||Yes|
|Central Government||Min of Panchayati Raj / RGSY||Yes|
|Central Government||Indian Railways||Yes|
|Central Government||MEA (Passport)||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Delhi||Yes||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Himachal Pradesh||Yes|
|State Government||Government of UT Chandigarh||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Haryana||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Tripura||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Punjab||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Sikkim||Yes|
|State Government||Government of Jharkhand||Yes||Yes|
As the public databases are getting inter-linked one by one through Aadhaar Number (AN) in various states (particularly Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh), middlemen and officials in those regions now find difficult to continue with corruption in social security programs like pensions, scholarships, health, NREGA, PDS Ration, subsidized kerosene and LPG.
Ineligible, duplicate and fictitious beneficiaries are getting eliminated from social security programs.
Corrupt people are finding difficult to buy and sell benami land and building (i.e.under fictitious name), to open and operate benami companies for money-laundering. They are also finding difficult to open and operate benami bank accounts for keeping criminal proceeds. Tax-evaders are finding difficult to evade taxes, and impersonation and proxy are getting difficult to commit due to online biometric validation.
Criminals and terrorists are getting detected and tracked through inter-linked databases of mobile phone numbers, bank account numbers and travel documents. Illegal immigrants are similarly detected and tracked through these databases. Records are becoming accessible to police from any state of India. It is getting difficult to obtain new driving licenses and arms license from another state, once it is impounded.
Village money-lenders are losing their business of high interest rates (240% to 360% per annum) causing debt-traps to poor as the Aadhaar-enabled financial inclusion is taking place slowly.
The Supreme Court of India passed an Interim Order on 2013-09-23 that no public services such as LPG be denied to public due to lack of Aadhaar. However, the government maintained that it does not deny public services such as LPG at market rate (i.e. non-subsidized). However, Aadhaar will continue to be mandatory for receiving social security benefits like subsidy on LPG. Those who do not want social security benefits can continue without Aadhaar. The Supreme Court made no such statement that Aadhaar or UIDAI is illegal and invalid. Otherwise Passport office would not have been able to issue passport based on Aadhaar identity. Similarly Bank account, Driving License, Insurance etc. could not have been issued based on Aadhaar identity.
Politically Motivated Opposition
Some politically motivated people have been opposing Aadhaar. These people ignore socio-economic benefits brought by the technological marvels of instant and accurate verification of identity. They seem to oppose it just for the sake of electoral benefits rather than better governance and development of Indian society. In addition, the beneficiaries of corruption are naturally opposed to it.
To obtain fresh Indian passport, one has to provide biometric data (face-photo, 10 fingerprint, identification mark on body, but no iris image) as well as demographic data (proof of identity, age, residence, education level, 2 references from neighborhood, pending criminal cases) with fee. Passport is issued with an embedded electronic chip for contactless communication and tracking whereas Aadhaar letter is issued on simple paper and pdf soft-copy. Similarly, Driving License of almost all States requires biometric data, education certificate and medical test report (blood group, diseases, vision, height, weight etc.) See the comparison table 'Process comparison: Aadhaar, Passport and DL' in the above paragraph.
Aadhaar registration collects biometric data (face-photo, 10 fingerprint, 2 iris image, but no identification mark on body) and bare minimum demographic data (proof of identity, age, residence) through enrollment form and documentary proof. Peruse the Enrollment-Form with data fields on page-1 and instructions on page-2. Blood group and profiling information like religion, caste, income, property-holding, education etc. are not collected. Thus Aadhaar collects lesser demographic data and one different biometric data (iris-image in lieu of body identification mark) in comparison to Passport.
Privacy issues and risks equally apply to information and data (with or without biometrics) provided by people to census office, tax office, passport office, driving license, vehicle registration, land and building registration, registration of birth, marriage and death, employers (current, past and prospective), banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, telephone service provider, television service provider, internet service provider, internet services (email, video, social media, search engine, chat, voice, file-storage and transfer etc.), registration at school/college, post-office and courier services, hospital registration and medical records, visa of US and UK etc. Various visa to Indians of US, UK and other countries need much more data - Blood group, fingerprint, height, weight, medical exam, income details, property-holding, parents date of birth and many other details
In India, government departments, public and private sectors have been using biometrics (fingerprints and face photo) for years, decades and centuries in some or all offices. Examples of fingerprints usage are: Land and building registration (since British era), Defense departments (fingerprints as service record of civilian as well as service personnel since British era till now, now also used for access and attendance), Planning Commission of India (for access and attendance), census office (for compulsory NPR), Passport, RTO (for driving license), insurance companies, IT, BPO and healthcare companies (for access and attendance), visa of US and UK etc.
Government also knows the movements of people thru the traffic cameras on roads, vehicle Number plate, face recognition etc. Use of electronic devices such as mobile phones, emails, internet, TV, bank cards provide no privacy. At any moment the Govt. knows of geographical location of people, what talk is going on phone with whom, what one is reading, writing or watching on internet, and what TV channel one watches when and for how long (it is the source of TRP data) thru the service provider. All it is done thru device identifiers like IMEI, IP address, GPS under electronic surveillance. For this reason, Indian Embassies in London & elsewhere have switched over to mechanical type-writers in 2013. See the article Global surveillance disclosures (2013–present) that puts more light on it.
Therefore, like Passport and Driving License, Aadhaar does not violate any privacy or fundamental right.
Budget, cost and benefits
About Rs. 35 billion (Rs. 3500 crore) has been spent totally on Aadhaar program from inception (January – 2009) till September – 2013 with enrollment of 500 million (50 crore) persons. It includes operating costs as well as capital expenditure (infrastructure of land, building, machinery) Government informed the Parliament in August – 2013 that the total sanctioned cost of UIDAI (including cost of permanent infrastructure like land, buildings, computers, software etc.) is Rs. 123 billion (Rs. 12,300 crore) for assigning 1.25 billion Aadhaar numbers. Thus at the end the unit cost will be about Rs. 100 per Aadhaar.
The projected cost and benefit analysis report by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy shows that Aadhaar-enabled public welfare programs will be able to save Rs. 1.1 Trillion (Rs. 110,000 crore) by the year 2020.
Tangible benefits become visible from 2014. A report of UBS Securities published in Jan – 2014 shows that Aadhaar-DBT can save up to 1.2% of GDP. GDP of India is $1,800 billion, thus the saving is $22 billion (Rs. 1.32 trillion), which ultimately translates to 33% savings on overall social security spending.
Aadhaar-enabled LPG subsidy payment has saved US$1 billion till August 2013 due to reduction of bogus connections. It is expected to save more than US$2 billion once LPG subsidy through Aadhaar becomes applicable to entire country. Similarly, 2/3rd of subsidized Kerosene has been saved from bogus beneficiaries in one block in Rajasthan.
Aadhaar Number (AN) is 12-digit in the format of 1234-5678-9012 where the 11-digits are used as a sequence and the rightmost 1-digit as an error detection check-sum. Verhoeff algorithm is used for check-sum; it only detects data-entry error and it does not correct the error for security reasons. It is supposed to be assigned to current population of 1.25 billion and future growth for centuries. Since Aadhaar uses 11-digit for sequence, therefore it has an address space of 1011 (100 billion). So AN can be assigned to 100 billion residents, and is designed not to get used up in the next 500 years.
All online data communication is encrypted and secure. System is scalable to handle the registration and authentication of identities in the largest biometric database of the world. It is English and Indian multilingual (Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada etc.).
Enrollment volume is 1 million person per day, over 200 trillion matches per day, 5MB per resident goes to database size of 15 Peta Byte @ 2Kbit encryption, 30 TB of Input-output per day, over 5TB of incremental data everyday. Lifecycle updates and new enrollments will continue forever.
Authentication volume is 4KB packet of each authentications request of 100 million requests per day, should handle high variance on peak-time and average, instant validation (under 10 second), guaranteed audits. All changes needs to be propagated from enrollment office to all authentication systems. 1 billion audit records in 10 days (30+ billion a year), 4 TB encrypted audit logs in 10 days, Audit write must be guaranteed.
Design and tools
It is scalable system architecture based on distributed computing. Various tools and systems have been used like J2EE, MySql, Hadoop, HBase, MongoDB, Solr, Mule, Rabbit etc. All system communications are only thru API. When everything fails i.e. hardware, software, network, storage then the System must recover, retry transactions and do self-heal.
High degree of security, privacy and scalability is built-in from start. It is open-source, multi-product, multi-vendor system with linear growth. 
Development and tools
Aadhaar System development and testing has been done at the UIDAI Technology Centre at Bangalore. Pilot field testing have been done in Jharkhand state for authentication and payment of wages and social security benefits thru Aadhaar-enabled Bank Account (AeBA).
Although enrolling 1.25 billion people with biometrics is the largest ever ID project in the world with lot of challenges, yet some reported problems have been compiled. Problems have been reported from the viewpoint of enrollment and delivery of the Aadhaar letter and the acceptance of Aadhaar number.
There have been reports of impolite staff, and unsatsfied queries. Most of the centers are queue based, only few centers are appointment-based. Information on camps are not published one week in advance in the locality.
E-KYC is not being used for DBT of LPG at dealer's office. Beneficiaries have been asked to submit paper-based photocopy of Aadhaar letter, bank account and linking-form in old-style. Linking thru online self-service to bank account is not available.
Bank Staff ask for original Aadhaar letter to be produced for verification when presented with printout of e-Aadhaar letter. They are not aware that Aadhaar is just a Number, not a Card which needs online verification with Aadhaar-database-server.
Staff of some departments are not yet aware that Aadhaar can be accepted as a minimum KYC. Presently RTO accepts Aadhaar letter only as additional ID, not sole ID till the Motor Vehicle Act is amended.
Some politicians and middlemen have been vehemently opposing adoption of Aadhaar for the PDS Ration, therefore, corruption in PDS continues in those states.
People of some states, such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are not aware that NPR (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) is responsible for Aadhaar enrollment in those areas.
Aadhaar letter delivery problems
The public is generally not aware of E-Aadhaar download (self-service to download pdf copy). Aadhaar letter is not delivered by India Post after 3 months, it takes 6 to 9 months after enrollment. Intimation of the assigned Aadhaar is not given to applicants by SMS or email so that people can download their e-Aadhaar letter, without waiting for 6 to 9 months for postal delivery.
News and Events
- Every second Indian (60 crore people) holds Aadhaar Number as of 09-March-2014.
- Trident (a private sector company) uses AN for Employee recruitment and salary payment.
- Aadhaar to play most prominent role in India Reforms.
- Indian information technology industry body Nasscom and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) together launched a project called 'Aadhaar Ecosystem Diffusion' at Bangalore in October – 2013. It is aimed to encourage start-up companies to develop various applications economy around the Aadhaar platform.
- Millions of Fake old-age pensioners cause billions of rupees loss to public money
- Millions of fake PDS Ration Cards cause billions of rupees loss to public money.
- Aadhaar is compulsory to access every service of State Government of Delhi wef 2013-01-01.
- Social Security (USA)
- National identification number
- Social Security Number
- Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery
- National Population Register
- Aadhar-enabled payment system
- International identifiers (for corporate entities i.e. companies)
- Business Identifier Code (BIC/ISO 9362, identifier for corporate entities i.e. companies, trade, banking (SWIFT code, international Bank code, Bank International Code) etc.)
- National Population Register
- Official website of UIDAI
- Dashboard of Aadhaar progress
- ISO 9362:2009
- Official SWIFT search tool for bank names and Bank Identifier Codes
- Swift Codes BIC, IBAN, SWIFT codes Reference
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