Unique Identification Authority of India
|This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (January 2014)|
|Formed||January 2009|
|Jurisdiction||Government of India|
|Agency executives||Nandan Nilekani, Chairman
Vijay Madan, Director General
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is an attached office of the Planning Commission of India, established to issue a Unique Identification Number ("Aadhaar") to residents of India who desire to have it. Aadhaar is planning on being made compulsory through indirect means and incentives. For example, there are plans to make it compulsory for passports. However, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory in its present form; in any case it lacks legal or statutory authority, and until the month of October 2014 both UIDAI and Aadhaar project were operating without any Parliamentary approval. Some civil liberties experts have suggested that Aadhaar project must be put on hold until concerns about its constitutional shortcomings and illegalities have been resolved.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the agency of the Government of India that is responsible for implementing Aadhaar. The UIDAI was formed under the Planning Commission by an executive order issued in January 2009. The agency was established in February 2009, and owns and operates the Unique Identification Number database. The agency provides a unique identification number to all persons residing in India without identity cards. The agency will maintain a database of residents containing biometric and other data, and is headed by a chairman, who holds a cabinet rank. The UIDAI is part of the Planning Commission of India. Nandan Nilekani was appointed as the first Chairman of the authority in June 2009 and resigned from the post in March 2014 to contest the Lok Sabha election. The then government extended the term of Vijay Madan,a 1981-batch IAS officer to continue as the director-general and mission director of UIDAI. The Central Government has been unable to secure statutory approval for the authority after the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee as "unethical and violative of Parliament prerogatives".
About Rs. 35 billion (Rs. 3,500 crore) was spent on Aadhaar program from the beginning (January-2009) till September 2013 with enrollment of 50 crore (500 million) persons. It includes operating costs as well as capital expenditure (infrastructure of land, building, machinery). Targeting 60 crore Aadhaar enrollments by 2014, agency has issued more than 40.29 crore Aadhaar numbers till August 2013. Newly elected Govt under prime minister Narendra Modi in union budget has allocated Rs. 2039.64 crore for the fiscal year 2014-15 for the functioning of UIDAI and to enroll remaining population, and has set a target of 100 crore enrollment at the ‘earliest’.
It was speculated that the change in union government may stall the Aadhaar project, considering the opposition raised by several BJP leaders during election campaign, raising issues like immigrants availing Aadhaar. On assuming charge new NDA government has scrapped the Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India, stating that major decisions regarding this have already been taken. The department of Information Technology has convened a meeting of the state government secretaries to decide the future course of action. On first of July a meeting of former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani with prime minister Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley was reported to have revived the project as he convinced them with the prospects the ongoing project. Few days after that, prime minister set a new target of 100 crore enrollment at the ‘earliest’ and has increased the fund allocation for UIDAI from Rs 1,550 crore to Rs 2,039 crore. In a recent development, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by prime minister has reviewed the project and has approved the Phase-V of Unique Identification project and has sanctioned Rs 1200 to accelerate enrollments in four new states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, which were previously covered by the scheme of NPR. On receiving a ‘go-ahead’ from the new government, UIDAI is planning to launch a media campaign to trigger up the enrolment process and to weed out misconceptions about the project. Aadhaar, an identification number for residents is widely perceived as an identity card legitimizing citizenship of the country. The security of the data collected by the UIDAI is also among some major concerns. UIDAI has proposed to hire an advertising agency and is about to spend Rs 30 crore a year for media campaign. Till date more than 71.62 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated.
Aadhaar enrolment crossed the 74.38 crore mark (743.8 million) in January 30, 2015.
|Rank||State / Union Territory||Population||AADHAARs Issued||% of Population|
|19||Jammu and Kashmir||12,548,926||4,090,191||32.59%|
|28||Dadra and Nagar Haveli||342,853||222,032||64.76%|
|29||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||379,944||166,028||43.70%|
|30||Daman and Diu||242,911||164,932||67.90%|
Public distribution plans
Despite supreme court’s interim directive, Aadhaar was used to weed out fake ration cards, in Hyderabad district of Telengana state. It was reported that more than 63,000 white ration cards and 2,29,757 names from its database have been deactivated by the chief rationing officer, following an order by Civil Supplies Department of State government. State of Andhra Pradesh has 15 lakh (1 500 000) bogus white ration cards which have been surrendered in a drive to seed them with Aadhaar numbers. In the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, envisaged for financial inclusion of the entire population, main features of allotting an overdraft of Rs 5,000 and accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh is proposed to be limited to Aadhaar linked bank accounts. This will help avoiding duplication and restrict household availing the facility through multiple bank accounts.
In a move to ensure punctuality and to check absenteeism among government employees, the government has decided to install Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance systems (AEBAS) in all central government offices and has launched a website ‘attendance.gov.in’. Government has ordered to implement the initial phase at national capital by October 2014 and will be extended to all central government offices by March 2015. The device will have a fingerprint scanner along with a Wi-Fi internet connection. Eight AEBAS systems provided by UIDAI have been installed at six gates of Urban Development Ministry. The database of all central government employees will be maintained centrally based on a six digit ID, based on the last six or first six digits of Aadhaar number.
The Digital India programme envisaged to provide digital identity, real-time online transaction platform and digitalization of government documents and records of all the citizens to make them available on real-time basis to avail government services will be based on Aadhaar, the only digitally verifiable identity in the country as of now. The blue print of the Digital India programme was approved by Union Cabinet envisages digital identity and government services delivered electronically by 2018. The government plans to link SIM cards with Aadhaar numbers and use mobile phones for accessing services.
UIDAI Headquarter allotment
The statutory board of enquiry for Delhi Development Authority has dumped the change of land use for UIDAI's proposed headquarters on a petition by India Against Corruption's national convenor Sarbajit Roy. Roy had claimed the prime property in central New Delhi worth Rs. 900 crore was leased to UIDAI at trifling price. Currently UIDAI operates out of offices in New Delhi's Connaught Circus. Since UIDAI is not an authority, its nodal agency, the Planning Commission, is responsible for providing UIDAI's infrastructure. The land is owned by 2 financially ailing telecoms, BSNL and MTNL, which are locked in a court dispute.
States currently covered under the project
Enrolment activities are being carried out exclusively by RGI for preparation of National Population Register (NPR) in the following States/Union territories. Residents of any other State/UT/district may note that they need not enroll under UIDAI if they have already enrolled under NPR.
- Andhra Pradesh
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
- Jammu & Kashmir
- Uttar Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- West Bengal
- Uttar Pradesh
In Sept 2014, govt gave approval of the Phase-V of the UID to cover the additional following states by year 2015:
Supreme Court judgments
The court, later on 24 March 2014, restrained the central government and the Unique Identification Authority of India from sharing data with any third party or agency, whether government or private, without the permission of the card-holder.
The AADHAAR number is not recognized as a legal proof of residence due to issues with the data protection. India's Intelligence Bureau claims anyone with an Aadhaar number can introduce others without any documentation to get the identity number, which makes it vulnerable to terrorism and other issues.
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