The Unique Identification Authority of India was founded in January 2009 with a vision to provide a unique identity to individuals and a platform to digitally authenticate the identity anywhere and at any point in time. This agency was a setup of a Central Government of India to collect biometric and demographic data of Indian citizens which includes their fingerprints, photographs, and iris scans. All these details are stored in a centralized place in the form of the Aadhaar card. UIDAI issues a 12- digit number called Aadhaar. It is the world’s largest project for the National identification number.

Functions of UIDAI

  • Owning and operation of a database of UIDAI
  • To serve a platform for the residents for pre-registration of Aadhaar online.
  • Allow the users to check their Aadhaar Card status on the UIDAI’s platform.
  • Responsible for maintaining and updating Aadhaar details constantly based on the Aadhaar applications received offline or online.
  • Implementation of the UID schemes
  • Assigning and generating UID to the people
  • Defining the mechanism and interlinking it with the partner’s databases.
  • Handles the managing and operation of all the UID’s life cycle stages
  • Framing the policies and operation of the UID mechanism
  • Updating and describing the usage and application of UID for the various other services.
  • The data center of the UID is situated at the Model Township in Manesar, Haryana.

Mission of the UIDAI

  • To provide Aadhaar to every Indian resident, and to have a stringent quality matrices and turnaround time.
  • Collaborating with all the partners and provide a convincing infrastructure to residents to authenticate and updating of digital identity.
  • To serve residents equitably , effectively and efficiently by collaborating with the service provider in leveraging the Aadhaar.
  • To offer a platform to encourage public and private agencies to develop applications that are directly linked with Aadhaar.
  • To ensure resilience, scalability and availability of technological infrastructure.
  • To build a long-term organization, this would sustain and carry forward values and vision of UIDAI.
  • To make it as attractive as possible so that the best global expertise of different fields collaborates to give the most valuable insight to UIDAI organization.

Core Values of UIDAI

The core values of UIDAI are mentioned below:

  • Give value to the integrity 
  • Committed to build the nation
  • To value and establish a collaborative approach.
  • To strive for and serve residents and service providers efficiently.
  • To make a constant effort for learning and to focus on improving the quality.
  • To consistently drive towards innovation and provide a similar platform to partners.
  • To make it open and transparent organization

On 16th December 2010, Government of India has issued a notification by sending a letter stating the name, address and Aadhaar number issued by UIDAI which act as a valid document.

Aadhaar number was given to create a unique identity for residents and to reduce the problem of the creation of fake and duplicate identities. The best part about the Aadhaar number is that it can be authenticated and verified anytime and anywhere online. 

However, it cannot replace any form of the present identity documents, nor does it give the cognizance to citizenship in any way.

The Aadhaar number never start with the zero or one to avoid any kind of fraud or identity theft. The Unique Identity theft somehow entitles the fraud one to take advantage of various government schemes such as e-sign, digital lockers, pension, the universal account number under EPFO and some other services such as bank account opening or getting a SIM for mobile connection.

According to UIDAI website, the Aadhaar Cardholder or the service provider with the help of Aadhaar verification service can check the credentials linked with the Aadhaar number. The service offered is very user-friendly. In addition, residents who had registered with the population are not required to register for Aadhaar again.

As per the current statistics, 1.12 Billion people possess Aadhaar number and 1.07 billion had authenticated. By around February 2015, the government had already spent 5630 Crores and issued 786.5 million of Aadhaar numbers.

Enrolling and updating ecosystems

The UIDAI has appointed registrar that are entitled to enroll Aadhaar Card. The registrar has the authority to recognize individuals for enrolling. The enrollment agency authorized by the registrar collects the demographic and biometric data of individuals throughout the enrollment process with the help of assigned operators and supervisors.

According to directions given by the registrar and enrollment agencies, the Aadhaar Seva Kendra is set up so that it becomes easier for an individual to enroll with UIDAI for Aadhaar card. The equipment used by the enrollment agencies is an iris scanner, camera, and fingerprint scanner certified by UIDAI and STQC. All enrollment work is done in coordination to connect to the Application programming Interphase.

All the enrollers, registrar and service providers coordinate amongst themselves to create a healthy environment for them to work.

Understand the process to authenticate the eco systems

The UIDAI has appointed various numbers of Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) and Authenticating Service Agencies (ASAs) for the smooth working of numerous non-government and government organizations. Since most of the authentication is done online, UIDAI made two data centers where authentication and other services can be performed online such as e-KYC can be deployed to ensure optimum availability. Banks and other payment network operations have made the authentication of Aadhaar at micro-ATMs simpler with a vent to provide branchless banking anywhere within the country in real-time and with interoperability.

Penalties for disclosure of information and security violation are severe. The database of children below 5 years is not maintained on biometric and demographic basis, in fact even the photograph is not taken but they are linked to their parents UID. However, after reaching the age of five the photograph, fingerprints and iris scan shall be updated on the Aadhaar and again at the age of 15, the data needs to be updated. The complete procedure is mentioned on the Aadhaar letter sent with the Aadhaar card to the entire population.