UIDAI – Overview
The government of India has made strides towards safeguarding the citizen’s financial and personal details over the years. This has helped reduce the frequency of incidences like money laundering, corruption, and identity theft. Although the rise in technology has made ordinary lives easier and more comfortable, it has also made people more vulnerable to fraudulent practices. The rate of cyber theft has been at an all-time high currently. In a move to combat the increasing rate of financial malpractices, the Government of India launched the UIDAI.
What is the UIDAI?
The Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI is a central government authority that functions to accumulate the country’s citizen’s personalized data such as fingerprints, photographs, and eye scans in the form of biometric collection under the different demographic divisions of the country and store them for information tracking. For record-keeping, the UIDAI issues Aadhaar card which contains a 12-digit unique code for each individual.
This Aadhaar card is now being used as a nationwide identification document and has become an essential document for every Indian citizen to have.
History of the UIDAI
The Unique Identification Authority of India was founded in January of 2009 with Nandan Nilekani as the appointed chairman. The UIDAI logo and the name ‘Aadhaar’ were also designed by Nilekani which was released in April 2010.
The authority undertook the service of enrollment by listing about 220 qualified agencies that were to participate in the enrollment process. A total of 15 agencies were also listed to train the personnel about the enrollment process.
The UIDAI launched an online platform for the verification of Aadhaar on February 7th, 2012 through which a citizen can verify citizenship using his/her respective Aadhaar number.
It was only in November of 2012 that the Aadhaar gained popularity and it was due to the then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s call of a benefit transfer scheme which was Aadhaar-linked. This scheme was launched to track money transactions and prevent any leakage in the system with a direct transfer of money to the recipient’s bank account. What started as a scheme for 20 states went on to have a nationwide spread.
The characteristics of Aadhaar were laid out by the Supreme Court on August 11th,2015 where it was mandated that UIDAI or Aadhaar card is to be used for purposes such as Kerosene, PDS, and LPG distribution.
The year 2016 was monumental in the UIDAI history because on March 11th of this year, the Lok Sabha passed the Aadhaar act. This came into effect after the money bill which was introduced in the parliament during March 2016. Later, on March 26th, 2016 this Aadhaar act became a part of the Gazette of India. As per the recent records from the UIDAI, a total of 40,810,314,699 authentications have been done by the authority and about 1,257,514,195 people have generated Aadhaar card. This data alone can justify the immense growth of the UIDAI throughout the years where almost every government/non-government procedure incorporates Aadhaar as a means of identification.
About UIDAI- Objectives, Functions, Missions & Core Values
The objective behind establishing the UIDAI
UIDAI was launched to assign the citizens of the country an identity that is unique to each individual along with an online platform where citizens can verify this unique identity from any part of the country.
With its headquarters at MIT, Manesar, the UIDAI has the following objectives:
- Issue a unique identification method for the citizens of the country.
- To provide the citizens with a platform where they can easily corroborate their identification from any corner of the country.
Mission of the UIDAI
The UIDAI holds a specific set of goals behind its functioning and structure. The major missions that the UIDAI strives to achieve are as follows:
- To make sure that the citizens of the country receive their share of services from the consolidated fund of India. These services include subsidy delivery which is fair and efficient. The authority ensures that the expenditure of the services is incurred from the fund which can be utilized by any individual using their Aadhaar number.
- It is UIDAI’s mission to develop strong policies for the regulation of the Aadhaar card issuing and enrollment process where each individual that enrolls and provides their biometrics and other personal details gets the Aadhaar card delivered.
- To make sure that individuals who have undergone the enrollment process and have generated an Aadhaar card can digitally authenticate it successfully.
- To make sure that there is enough technological infrastructure in the country and that it reaches new horizons of extensibility and financial durability.
- To develop a strong foundation for the authority so that UIDAI can sustain for a long time and carry forward its goals and missions.
- To safeguard and maintain the security of the personal parameters submitted by a citizen in their records and maintain its confidentiality.
- To make sure that there is no defiance of the Aadhaar act by any citizen of the country and that all individuals follow its rules and regulations.
- To make sure that any policies that are developed in the future are compatible with the rules and regulations governed by the Aadhaar act and that there are no misnomers.
Functions carried out by the UIDAI
UIDAI is one of the most essential administrative authority in the country which draws various policies for the benefit of improved authentication of the citizens of the country. Some of the key functions which are performed by the UIDAI include:
- Authority over the database showcasing the biometrics and demographic details of citizens.
- UIDAI provides citizens with an e-platform for the initial registration of the Aadhaar card.
- UIDAI provides a platform to the citizens of India to check the status of their Aadhaar card application on the UIDAI website.
- The UIDAI has the responsibility of the regular update and management of the new Aadhaar enrollments as well as keeping a track of the total number of generated Aadhaar cards to date.
- The UIDAI is the central authority to supervise the unique identification schemes and its rules and regulations.
- The main function of the authority is to help the citizens in the enrollment process of Aadhaar card as well as the generation of the unique identification upon completion of the enrollment process.
- The UIDAI also has to perform services like linking the collected individual parameters to the generated Aadhaar number and incorporate it into the central database of the authority.
- Another facet of UIDAI duties is to make sure that the unique identification is on track with the individual’s life stages and carry out its management and operation.
- UIDAI functions to develop new policies according to the needs of citizens and make sure that these policies operate well within the UID boundaries.
- UIDAI also provides information to citizens regarding the use and applications of their Aadhaar card for the available services.
Core values of UIDAI
The authority has also laid out some specific core values which it abides by to serve the citizens of the country efficiently. These core values are –
- UIDAI believes in establishing good governance.
- UIDAI cherishes integrity.
- UIDAI has made a commitment of nation-building which is all-inclusive.
- UIDAI has a collaborative approach where they share the value of partnership.
- UIDAI strives for achieving excellence in providing its citizens with good services.
- UIDAI focuses on quality improvements along with a conducive learning.
- UIDAI has a desire of creating innovative strategies.
- UIDAI strives to build an organization which is transparent and fair in its operation.
Services offered by UIDAI
A citizen can reach out to UIDAI for several Aadhaar card related services like – https://uidai.gov.in/
- Detection of nearby Aadhaar Enrollment Centre
- Aadhaar verification
- Information regarding the status of Aadhaar card application
- Linking Aadhaar and bank account
- Information regarding the status of Bank-Aadhaar linkage
- Authentication of citizen’s phone number and residential address
- Recovery of Aadhaar in case it has been lost or damaged
- The download of the Aadhaar card
- Biometrics locking/unlocking
- e-KYC or paperless offline Aadhaar KYC
- Virtual identity document generation
- Online Aadhaar address update
- To check the update history
- Recovery of address validation letter
- Retrieval of Aadhaar correction form
Salient features of Aadhaar card
- The Aadhaar card was launched to provide a unique identification method for the citizens of India and safeguard them against any fraudulent practices.
- The Government of India notified Aadhaar card as a valid proof of any individual’s name, age, and address on December 16th, 2010.
- The individual’s Aadhaar number does not start with 0 or 1 as the first digit.
- UIDAI features an open-source technology for Aadhaar card.
- Aadhaar card offers citizens with unique services like NSAP, digital lockers, pension schemes, e-sign, and getting a SIM card.
- The details in the Aadhaar card can be cross-checked by any individual online on UIDAI.
- Citizens are registered in the national population don’t need Aadhaar registration.
Functional structure of UIDAI:
UIDAI works as an organization consisting of different functional divisions which include:
- Registration agency/Registrar: Any individual wishing to generate an Aadhaar card has to go to the registrar office. This division takes care of the registration process of Aadhaar enrollment and enters the information in the database. This division has to make sure that the rules and regulations of UID schemes are abided.
- Enrollment office: This agency takes care of Aadhaar enrollments. It works under the authorization of the registrar office and takes part in the collection of demographic and biometric information of the candidate and they can do so by setting up enrolment centers. This division supervises the enrolment activities and the relaying of data to the CIDR in time.
- Operating agency: Enrolment centers appoint a team of operators who manage the proper enrolment procedures like eye scans, fingerprint scans, and form completion. The operators are in charge of collecting and verifying the documents submitted by the citizen during the enrolment process. They also have some supervising teams to overlook the efficiency of their operations.
- CDAs- Content Development Agencies help the enrolment process by providing the tools required for the training of the operators. These agencies utilize the knowledge of databases to develop such training materials which can improve the efficiency of the enrolment process
- TCAs- The testing and certification agency is incorporated in the UIDAI structure to certify new operators as fit to carry out the enrolment process through a series of tests.
- Standardized Testing and Quality Certification agency – To ensure accuracy and fair means of the enrolment process, the government of India has instilled an agency like Standardized Testing and Quality Certification agency or STQC which carries out thorough testing of all the equipment that are utilized during the enrolment process and it includes biometric device testing. This agency approves lab certified devices and only after which they can be used for Aadhaar enrolments.
- Authentication: This agency is set up by UIDAI for genuine verifications of enrolments. The Authenticating services agencies help establish centers of the database from online enrolments or e-KYC processes which the UIDAI can recruit to check about the authenticity or repeating of any citizen’s credentials. Nowadays, the Banks have also deployed the authentication agencies for verifications of Aadhaar.
- Finance Agency: The financial division of UIDAI performs the function of planning the budget, expenses, and calculating the income of the authority and propose stringent actions for making the optimum finances and cash flow arrangements. The finance division plays the role of financial advisory for matters such as delegation of power, cost estimation, and income proposal to EFC, making provisions for activities which will implicate the appreciation of capital, evaluation of new rules and regulation in the UID schemes and their relevancy. The finance division also exercises control over the procurement manual for the supervision of abiding by the rules and regulations set by the Ministry of finance. This division also monitors the accounting offices and budget planning, internal audit, and issue of the final audit report to regional office and allocation among regional offices and the headquarter departments.
Distribution of UIDAI offices
- The UIDAI has its head office in New Delhi and a spread of 8 regional offices around the country in different states.
- The organization has its data centers at two locations namely, Hebbal, Karnataka, and Manesar, Haryana.
- Organizational hierarchy of UIDAI:
- Now coming to the structure of authority in the organization, it is composed of –
- Member Secretary of authority is the Chief Executive officer who is the member legal representative of the organization and 2 part-time members work in association with them.
- An Authority Chairman
Recent Developments in UIDAI
From the time of its establishment, the UIDAI has made quite a few developments. Some of them include-
- Recently the income tax department has made it mandatory for all working salaried professionals to have their PAN linked to Aadhaar by March 2021.
- The UIDAI has also incorporated the facility of Aadhaar update to the CSCs or Common Service Centres.
- At the start of 2020, UIDAI has opened 28 new Aadhaar enrollment centers
The vision of establishing an authority such as UIDAI has now become a reality. What may have started as an initiative for providing safety to the citizens against any malpractices, the UIDAI has now become one of the frontiers of the identification method in India.
The Aadhaar is now used as an identification document in several activities both governmental or non-governmental. It is now been mandated by the Income-tax commission of India to link the Aadhaar card with PAN card and the citizen shall be ineligible for tax filing if he/she fails to do so.
UIDAI provides a good platform to the citizens of the country which fulfilling their authentication needs and having all the facilities in one place. This authority has made strides in making the lives of citizens easier by taking their burden of heavy documents and cutting it to half.