What is AADHAAR ?

Question: What is Aadhaar?
UIDAI – Aapka Aadhaar aadhaar-logo_en-gbuidai-logo_en-gb

 Mera Aadhaar, Meri Pehchaan (मेरा आधार मेरी पहचान) translation – My ‘Aadhaar’ My Identity

Answer: Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the Government of India. This number will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.
Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident in India and satisfies the verification process laid down by the UIDAI can enrol for Aadhaar.
Each individual needs to enroll only once which is free of cost.
Each Aadhaar number will be unique to an individual and will remain valid for life. Aadhaar number will help provide access to services like banking, mobile phone connections and other Govt. and Non-Govt. services in due course.

Aadhaar will be:
Easily verifiable in an online, cost-effective way
Unique and robust enough to eliminate the large number of duplicate and fake identities in government and private databases
A random number generated, devoid of any classification based on caste, creed, religion and geography

Image source

Know your customer (KYC) Know your customer is the process of a business verifying the identity of its clients. The term is also used to refer to the bank regulation which governs these activities. Know your customer processes are also employed by companies of all sizes for the purpose of ensuring their proposed agents’, consultants’ or distributors’ anti-bribery compliance. Banks, insurers and export credit agencies are increasingly demanding that customers provide detailed anti-corruption due diligence information, to verify their probity and integrity.
Know your customer policies are becoming much more important globally to prevent identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Who are entitled to get the UID Numbers?

Answer: UID Numbers will be issued to all residents of India who satisfy the verification process that is in place. ‘Residents’ means an individual usually residing in a village or rural area or town or ward or demarcated areas (demarcated by Registrar General of Citizen Registration).
The issue of an UID number does not establish citizenship rights of the resident who has the number. It only establishes the identity of the person. It does not entitle the resident to any rights or entitlements. Establishing citizenship is not the mandate of the UIDAI.

Question: What is the information that the UIDAI seeks from the resident?
Answer: Name, Date of Birth, Gender, Address of the resident, Photograph, all ten fingerprints and both iris scan is required. In case of minors (children <5years age), the name of the Mother/ Father/Guardian is also required. In addition the resident can give an option to link his existing bank account with aadhaar or else opt for a new aadhaar linked bank account.

Question: How will the information in the database be used? What does authentication mean and how will it work on a daily basis?
Answer: The information in the database will be used only for authentication purposes. Authentication user agencies can use the e-KYC service to verify the identity of the residents seeking services from them. The Aadhaar ecosystem will power E-KYC (Electronic- Know Your Customer), which will utilise the E-KYC APIs, to allow citizens to avail different services without carrying any physical identification proof. The UIDAI has partnered with 26 banks, and has also tied-up with the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) and Visa for payments powered by E-KYC. It can be deployed for customer verification for mobile connections, bank accounts, insurance, LPG connections, state government services, train travel and any service where verification is required.

Question: Will the residents be allowed to access their own information and make corrections if necessary?
Answer: A procedure will be evolved and established through which residents will be able to view their complete information in the Aadhaar database and a procedure for correcting information will be laid down.

Question: What is the utility of Aadhaar Number?
Answer: Aadhaar number is an enabler. Aadhaar number aims to provide a soft identity infrastructure which can be used to re-engineer public services so that these lead to equitable, efficient and better delivery of services. Specifically, the utility for the residents and the Governments are briefly explained below.

For Residents:

  • Inability to prove identity is one of the biggest barriers preventing many residents from accessing benefits and subsidies.  The purpose of the UIDAI is to issue a unique identification number (UID/Aadhaar) to all residents of India that is (a) robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and (b) can be verified and authenticated in an easy cost effective way.
  • It is envisaged that the Aadhaar will become the single source of identity verification. Aadhaar, which identifies individuals uniquely on the basis of their demographic and biometric information, will give residents the means to clearly establish their identity to public and private agencies across the country. Once residents enrol, they can use the number multiple times- they would be spared the need to repeatedly provide supporting identity documents each time they wish to access services such as obtaining a bank account, mobile connection, LPG connections etc. Aadhaar will also give migrants mobility of identity. Aadhaar, once it is linked to a bank account, can make it possible for banking institutions to provide ubiquitous, low cost micro payments to the residents. Aadhaar’s secure authentication model can also enable delivery of services to residents directly via their mobile phones. This will ensure that residents may securely access government benefits and subsidies, track their bank accounts, send and receive money or make payments from the anytime-anywhere convenience of their mobile phones.
  • Aadhaar has been recognized as an officially valid document as PoI (Proof of Identity ) and PoA (Proof of address) for opening bank accounts and obtaining mobile telephone and LPG connections. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued necessary instructions for recognition of Aadhaar as PoI and PoA for obtaining a driving license and registration of vehicles. The Department of Health and Family Welfare has also recognized Aadhaar as PoI and PoA for extending financial assistance to patients below poverty line who are suffering from major life threatening diseases for receiving medical treatment at any of the super specialty Hospitals/Institutions or other Government Hospitals under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi. Ministry of Railways has also recognized Aadhaar as a valid PoI for rail travel. Election Commission of India has accepted Aadhaar as an alternative PoI and PoA at the time of polls in absence of Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC). Some of the State/UT Governments viz. Sikkim, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Nagaland, Haryana, Manipur and Rajasthan have also recognized Aadhaar as one of the PoI and PoA for their various resident centric schemes. Recently Ministry of External Affairs has notified Aadhaar as one of the valid documents for proof of residence in conjunction with any of the other notified documents.

For Registrars & Enrollers: The UIDAI will only enrol residents after de-duplicating records which will help Registrars to clean out duplicates from their databases, enabling significant efficiencies and cost saving. For Registrars focussed on cost, the UIDAI’s verification processes will ensure lower Know Your Resident (KYR) cost, and a reliable identification number will enable them to broaden their reach into groups that till now have been difficult to authenticate. It is anticipated that the strong authentication that the UID number offers will improve services leading to better resident satisfaction.

For Governments: Eliminating duplicates and ghost beneficiaries under various schemes is expected to save the government exchequer a substantial amount. It will also provide governments with accurate data on beneficiaries, enable direct transfer of benefits.

Question: What are the fears on the utility of UID Number (Aadhaar Number)?
Answer: The views of different stakeholders on the subject are encapsulated in the Report of the Standing Committee of Finance. The UIDAI has submitted its point-wise comments on the report to the Planning Commission for submission to the Cabinet.

Question: What benefits and services can be delivered to residents?
Answer: The UIDAI cannot define the nature of benefits and services that should be or can be delivered. It is for the State Government’s/Ministries/Departments to decide whether delivery of the benefits and services should be linked to Aadhaar number and the extent to which the number should be used. The key role of the UIDAI is to give the UID number (called Aadhaar number). The role of the Aadhaar number is that of an enabler – a number that helps governments design better welfare programs enables residents to access benefits and services more easily wherever they live, and allows agencies to deliver benefits and services effectively and transparently. The number will thus be an identity infrastructure, and the foundation over which multiple services and applications can be built for the resident.
{In my opinion it’s akin to the Social Security Number (SSN) used in U.S.A although its primary purpose is to track individuals for Social Security purposes, the Social Security number has become a de facto national identification number for taxation and other purposes. Social Security number}

Question: What is Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) ?
Answer: The CIDR will be the central data repository, and will function as a Managed Service Provider. It will implement the core services around the UID – it will store resident records, issue unique identification numbers, and verify, authenticate and amend resident data.
The CIDR will only hold the minimum information required to identify the resident and ensure no duplicates. This will include:

  • Unique Identity Number
  • Unique ID agencies
  • Setting standards on demographic data and biometrics

Central Identities Data Repository

Question: How will the UIDAI ensure that there is no fraud and duplicate/ghost persons who are issued UID numbers as all databases existing today have these inconsistencies?
Answer:  Enrolment of residents with proper verification: Existing identity databases in India are fraught with problems of fraud and duplicate/ghost beneficiaries. To prevent this from seeping into the UIDAI database, the Authority has partnered with various State Government departments and public sector Banks to enrol residents with proper verification of their demographic and biometric information. The primary responsibility for correct enrolment vests in these Registrars at the front-end. UIDAI has prescribed standardized processes for enrolments based on the standards recommended by the Demographic Data Standards and Verification Procedures Committee, and Biometrics Committees to ensure that the data collected is clean and without duplicates from the start of the program.  Once the data is received at the CIDR, it is duly validated and randomly assigned for manual quality check. There is also a process of continuous Analytics to review data and in case any inconsistency is found, allotment of Aadhaar can be reviewed.

Process to ensure no duplicates: Registrars will send the applicant’s data to the CIDR for de-duplication. The Central Identification Data Repository (CIDR) will perform a search on key demographic fields and on the biometrics for each new enrolment, to ensure that no duplicates exist. The incentives in the UID system are aligned towards a self-cleaning mechanism. The existing patchwork of multiple databases in India gives individuals the incentive to provide different personal information to different agencies. Since de-duplication in the UID system ensures that residents have only one chance to be in the database, individuals are expected to provide accurate data. However it needs to be borne in mind that even the best technology cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. Some duplicates will emerge even with all the checks and balances. UIDAI therefore proposes to periodically review its database for such duplicates and cancel the duplicate aadhaars as and when they come to notice.

Question:   Will the UIDAI be issuing cards?
Answer: The UIDAI will be issuing UID numbers and not cards. The Aadhaar number will be communicated to the resident by means of a letter delivered by India Post or any other delivery agency engaged by UIDAI to the communication address provided at the time of enrolment.  The letter has a smaller, cut away portion that has the Aadhaar number and demographic information of the resident that could be retained for reference.  The Registrar may issue a card for their own purpose in which they may include the UID number. The UID can only establish unique identity if authentication is done against the central database. Further, cards can be forged, stolen, faked and identity process diluted. While the UID authority only guarantees online authentication, the service providers are free to issue cards to people if it serves their purpose.

Question: What are the privacy protection measures in place to protect the right to privacy of the resident?
Answer: The information that the UIDAI is seeking is already available with several agencies (public and private) in the country; the additional information being sought by the UIDAI are the finger prints and iris scans. However, the UIDAI recognizes that the right of privacy must be protected, and that people are sensitive to the idea of giving out their personal information, particularly the idea of information being stored in a central database to be used for authentication. UIDAI will protect the right to privacy of the person seeking the unique identity number. The information on the database will be used only to authenticate identity.
The draft bill includes clauses to protect identity information, discourage impersonation and unauthorized access to the UIDAI database (Chapter VI, Clauses 30 to 33).
Data protection features have been included in the architecture of the AADHAAR project.

Data Protection Features integral to UID (Aadhaar Project)

  • Do not keep data more than the functional requirement
    – Basic Demographic information
    – No Profiling information
    – No Transaction records
  • Ensure Integrity during Data Transfer
    – Encryption and Security
    – Detailed Transfer Protocols
    – Trained Personnel
  • Data Security and Protection in CIDR
    – No data flow outside – only yes or no
    – All processes in place to ensure security of data (access protocols, etc) in CIDR
    – UID holder can access and update information
    – Penal consequences for unauthorized access and tampering of data
  • Guidelines to Registrars
    – On best Practices in Data handling
    ¬ Evolving necessary protocols to ensure data security

The following provisions have been made in the draft Bill:  (Chapter VII, Clauses 34 to 46)
Penalties have been provided, inter alia, for impersonation at time of enrolment, impersonation of aadhaar number holder by changing demographic information or biometric information, disclosing identity information, unauthorised access to the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR), tampering with data in Central Identities Data Repository.

Data protection, however, is not limited to the AADHAAR project and needs to be addressed through a comprehensive legislation. The Committee of Secretaries, after detailed deliberations has constituted a Group of Officers under the chairpersonship of Secretary, D/o Personnel and Training consisting of representatives of D/o Revenue, M/o Science & Technology, D/o Legal Affairs, M/o Home Affairs, D/o Information Technology and the Cabinet Secretariat with a view to work out the framework of the legal provisions, including principles and elements on data protection, security and privacy.

Question: Is the Registrar/Enrolment Agency required to follow any data protection principles? Will the Authority be prescribing principles to be followed by the Registrar?
Answer: When Enrolment Agencies / Registrars collect data from residents, they have to exercise a fiduciary (relating to or of the nature of a legal trust (i.e. the holding of something in trust for another) duty of care towards this information. Therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure they keep the data collected from residents safe and secure (both biometric and demographic) and protected from unauthorized access. UIDAI has issued guidelines and best practices for data protection for all its ecosystem partners.

Question: What is the legal basis of the UIDAI?
Answer: The UIDAI is presently established by the Planning Commission by an executive order. A Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority has also been established.  The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was constituted as an attached office under the Planning Commission to develop and implement the necessary legal, technical and institutional infrastructure to issue unique identity to residents of India.
The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December 2010 and thereafter referred to the Standing Committee on Finance. The report of the Committee has been received and is under consideration of the Government of India.

Question: If the Authority is legally functioning under the Notification issued by the Government of India, why was a Bill introduced in Parliament?
Answer: Constituting a statutory authority would provide a legislative framework for UIDAI to perform its functions. The legislation is considered necessary to strengthen the mandate of the authority to undertake its responsibilities effectively. The powers and functions of the Authority, the framework for issuing aadhaar numbers, major penalties and matters incidental thereto are proposed to be laid down through the Bill. With a legal/legislative framework in place, penalties for unauthorised access of data and breach of security can also be enforced more effectively in terms of the law.

Question: Will the database of the UID be shared with other Registrars?
Answer: The Registrars collecting the data can and will keep the data for their own use.  Data can be also shared by UIDAI with Registrars wherever the consent of the resident is available. It can also be shared in cases where there are orders of the competent Court or any disclosure is necessitated by national security considerations. There too, a competent authority is proposed to be prescribed to make such requests. These are already provided in the Draft NIDAI Bill (Chapter VI, clause 33). 

Question: How will children be captured in the database?
Answer: For children below 5 years, no biometrics will be captured. Their UID will be processed on the basis of demographic information and facial photograph linked with the UID of their parents/guardians. These children will need to provide their biometrics comprising ten fingers, iris and facial photograph, when they turn 5.
All children will need to update their biometrics once again when they turn 15. The instructions in the original Aadhaar letter carry a note to this effect, wherever relevant.

Question: How will the biometric of the differently-abled people with no finger prints or rugged hands e.g. beedi workers or people with no fingers be captured?
Answer: In the case of people without hands/ fingers, available biometrics (photo, iris, fingers) will be captured and exceptions will be documented.  In the case of differently-abled and people with no fingerprints or rugged hands, the available biometrics will be captured.  Exceptions will be documented. If all biometrics are missing, exception management module permits enrolment of such residents. Like children, they too will be de-duplicated based on their demographic information and photograph. However before any such enrolment is processed, the data is manually screened at the back-end by UIDAI to reconfirm the facts.

Question: What steps have been taken to speed up the generation of Aadhaar Numbers to residents?
Answer: To speed up generation of Aadhaar numbers, UIDAI has scaled up the capacity of Biometric Automated Identity Systems (ABIS) for the biometric de-duplication to 1 million aadhaars per day. To minimize validation failures at the processing stage, the enrolment client features have been enriched and a number of validation checks have been built into the front end enrolment client. These include

(i) local authentication of operators/supervisors

(ii) age and relationship authentication

(iii) End of Day (EOD) review of demographic data by supervisor

(iv) periodic sync of the enrolment machines with CIDR has been made mandatory

(v) upload of data packets within 20 days from the date of enrolment

(vi) periodic report and analytics of the data uploaded are shared with the Registrars and EAs.

Question: What is the time period by which UIDAI will generate and issue the Aadhaar number?
Answer: As per the process, 60 to 90 days from the date of receipt of the enrolment packet in the Central Identities Data Depository (CIDR) has been prescribed for delivering Aadhaar number to the resident.  However this presupposes that the data packet will clear all validation checks prescribed by UIDAI to ensure the authenticity of the packets and to ensure audit trail in each case. In case any validation check fails, the packet is kept on hold till the resolution process clears the packet or else it is rejected.

Question: What are the reasons for delay in issuing the Aadhaar numbers?
Answer: Residents’ data packets received in CIDR undergoes a number of validation/quality checks to ensure that the data received is correct & authentic; such as

  1. Structural Validation for data integrity:
    i. Authenticity of Registrar(s) & EA code.
    ii. Village, Town, City Pin-code mapping.
    iii. Certification of operators & supervisors.
    iv. Registrar & Enrolment Agency (EA) mapping.
    v. Availability of approved encryption key 
  2. Demographic De-duplication
  3.  Demographic data quality check
    i. Photo-gender match
    ii. Age validation
    iii. Spelling/address validation
    iv. Transliteration check
    v. Photo quality
  4.  Biometric de-duplication.
    Any resident data packet, which fails any of the validation checks, is either rejected or goes into a ‘hold’ status till the authenticity of the data packet is confirmed from the Registrar/enrolment agency. This can lead to delays in generation of Aadhaar numbers. Sometimes, the delay in generation of Aadhaar is on account of delay in upload of resident data by the enrolment agency.

Question: How many enrolments have been completed as on 28.2.2013?
Answer: As per the status available, 34.71 crore people have been enrolled as on 28th Feb., 2013 and the enrolment packets have been received in CIDR for the same. After undergoing a number of validation/quality checks that the data received is correct and authentic, 28.78 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated. State wise details are available at  –
Page on planningcommission.gov.in

Question: How many Aadhaar letters have been dispatched as on date?
Answer: As per the Postal Training Centre (PTC) portal of Department of Post, 24.07 crore have been dispatched as on 28.2.2013. The details of state-wise dispatch of Aadhaar nos. are available at –
Page on planningcommission.gov.in

Question: How many enrolments have been rejected?
Answer: As on 28.2.2013 about 2.69 crore enrolments have been rejected due to various technical and process errors.

Question:  Does UIDAI assure 100% duplicate free database? Will there be no duplicate aadhaar numbers?
Answer: Biometric matching systems or de-duplication systems are essentially based on pattern matching and can be designed to achieve an accuracy of more than 99%. Higher the quality of biometric capture, lesser the probability of a duplicate being generated. However UIDAI aims for inclusiveness so that failure to enroll is negligible. Therefore generation of duplicate aadhaar number cannot be ruled out totally.

Question: How many Aadhaar numbers have been cancelled till date?
Answer: 418254 aadhaar numbers have been cancelled as on 28.2.2013 due to various technical and process errors. The details are as under:

UID_Status_Description UID_Count

  1.  Aadhaar cancelled due to Duplicate                34015
  2. Aadhaar cancelled for Test Cases                        2
  3. Aadhaar cancelled due to Biometric Exception Cases           3,84,237
    Grand Total   418254

Question: How Many enrolments are pending for issue of Aadhaar Numbers?
Answer: About 3.23 crore resident enrolment packets are at various stage of processing as on 28.2.2013.

Question: How many Registrars and enrolment Agencies are involved in the enrolment of residents?
Answer: Around 43 Enrolment Agencies are working under RGI’s 4 sub-Registrars in 33 States/UTs while about 94 Enrolment Agencies are working with 50 State/Non State Registrars (including sub-Registrars) in 18 States/UTs.

Question: What are the problems faced in setting up adequate centres?
Answer: Availability of proper infrastructure such as access to public buildings for enrolment, electricity, availability of Verifiers appointed by the Registrars are some of the problems being faced during aadhaar enrolments.

Question: Whether Govt. is facing hurdles due to defective machines, lack of availability enrolment forms?
Answer: The enrolment kit can suffer breakdown because of tough working environment such as heat/dust/fluctuating current/mishandling during operation and transportation.

Question: How is the Govt. addressing the above issues?
Answer: Only Standard Testing Quality Control (STQC), an agency of Deptt. of Electronics & Information Technology, certified biometric enrolment devices are permitted to be used for aadhaar enrolment. Resident enrolment form has been uploaded on UIDAI website for download and use by residents. As a part of the resident enrolment process, UIDAI has prescribed availability of technical personnel to fix on-site issue. UIDAI offers technical support to its partners through a dedicated team at its Technology Centre at Bangalore. Further, UIDAI offers field coaching and online training support for operators and supervisors.

Question: Is Govt. aware that people are being forced to enroll for UID Scheme?
Answer: UIDAI has been mandated to generate and issue unique identification numbers (Aadhaar) to all residents of India. Enrolment for aadhaar is voluntary and not mandatory. It is for the implementing authorities to decide whether aadhaar is mandatory for receiving service.

Question: How are the resident’s grievances being handled by UIDAI?
Answer: UIDAI has set up contact centre and helpdesk at Pune and Jamshedpur w.e.f 1.12.2013. The service is man by M/s Tata Business Support Services. Besides, grievance cell has been set up in each of the Regional Offices of UIDAI to attend to the complaints of residents.
To take care of the complaints by residents of non-receipt of aadhaar letters e-aadhaar portal has been launched and made available online. Further, to facilitate residents to update and correct their aadhaar data, self-service portal online and through Post have been launched in November 2012.

Question: Whether it is fact that inclusion of all Indian residents in the Unique Identification number scheme would present a threat to the nation’s security by giving illegal migrants rights of citizens?
Answer: Aadhaar is a unique 12 digit number which is being issued to all residents of India as a developmental initiative. Determination of citizenship is under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Rules framed there under.  Aadhaar does not confer citizenship nor does it confer right of citizenship to illegal migrants which will be determined by the relevant statutory and implementing authorities. Hence, compromise of national security due to enrolments under the UID project does not arise.

Question: How were the States/UTs selected where non-RGI Registrars can enroll?
Answer: The Cabinet Committee on UIDAI in its meeting held on 27.1.2012 has decided that in States where UIDAI has made good progress or where State/UT Governments /Administrations have given commitment for Aadhaar enrolments and are planning to integrate with various services delivery applications, Aadhaar enrolments through non-RGI Registrars move at full speed.  Accordingly, certain States have been specified where UIDAI can collect data.  It has also been decided that the NPR enrolment will continue as envisaged, but, if in the course of enrolment, a person indicates that he/she is already enrolled for Aadhaar, the biometric data will not be captured by NPR. Instead the Aadhaar number/enrolment number will be recorded in NPR and biometric data will be given to the NPR.

Question: How many Printers have been deployed by UIDAI for printing of aadhaar letters?
Answer: Three agencies, namely

  1.  M/s Manipal Tech Ltd, Manipal,
  2.  M/s Seshaasai Business (P) Ltd., Mumbai and
  3. M/s KL High Tech Secure Print, Hyderabad have been contracted.

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