Prashant Pati Singh
Unique Identification Authority of India
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Deputy Director General, Unique Identification Authority of India is an officer of Indian Administrative Service with over 28 years' experience of working in senior positions in the Government of India and the State Government of Maharashtra. In his current assignment, he is responsible for implementation of Unique ID project in Western India. Earlier also, he worked as Secretary of Information Technology Department of Maharashtra State. During his tenure, he provided leadership to critical e-governance projects on the Automation of Sales Tax Department, Computerization of Government hospitals, Transport department, and Land records. Prior to that, he was Staff officer to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra state where he was closely involved in running the state administration. Pandey is a graduate of Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur. In 1998 he went on to join University of Minnesota where he obtained his MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science. In 2009, he was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals by the University of Minnesota for his outstanding leadership accomplishments in his professional career.
Establishing an ID is a common challenge for poor. A resident typically accesses multiple service providers, at different times and needs to repeatedly re-establish his ID which is a problem for the poor. The Government of India has launched a project in 2009, under which an Aadhaar, (which means'foundation') , a unique 12 digit number, is issued to residents on a voluntary basis free of cost, which would facilitate provision of a robust, one time, reusable, nationally on-line verifiable ID to those who do not have any ID . This number will also clean up the existing databases of beneficiaries of services through uniqueness and by removal of the duplicates and fakes. This, in turn, will improve targeting and delivery of services with cost reduction as the attendant benefit. In India, Financial Inclusion is minimal, with only 5% habitations having banks, 40% of the population having bank accounts, and Life Insurance Cover less than 10%. In fact, the usage of Debit Cards is just 13% and that of the Credit Cards is 2% . Aadhaar has enabled the opening of bank accounts for people who have never had access to banking services so far. To bring millions of Indians in the mainstream of inclusive development, the 'Aadhaar' solution comprises enrolment of residents by way of collection and storage of basic demographic and biometric attributes viz. Name, Address, Date of Birth, Gender , photo, 10 finger prints and IRIS and by allotting a 12 digit unique number guaranteeing uniqueness through biometric de-duplication. The technological solution also provides online, cost-effective, ubiquitous Authentication services (anytime, anywhere) across the country. The solution is based on 30+ minutiae extracted from each fingerprint and iris pattern. Aadhaar Authentication is the process wherein Aadhaar number, along with other attributes (biometrics, demographics or One time PIN (OTP)) is submitted to UIDAI's Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) for verification. The CIDR verifies whether the data submitted matches the data available in CIDR and responds with only 'yes/no' without disclosing any personal identity information as part of the response. The sheer volume and scalability to achieve the target of giving unique ID to 1.2 billion people with 12 billion finger prints and 2.4 billion Iris is a huge challenge. Presently, Enrolment of the magnitude of 01 million per day is being carried out on 100,000 enrolment machines. The major applications of the project are delivery and targeting of beneficiaries in various socio-economic programs run by the government such as Public Distribution System, Direct Benefit Transfers to the needy and poor, Health and Education programs, apart from financial inclusion. The target of the project is to create 600 million Aadhaars by 2014