Features of Aadhaar
Aadhaar will only provide identity: The UIDAI's purview will be limited to the issuance of unique identification numbers (Aadhaar) linked to a person's demographic and biometric information. The Aadhaar will only guarantee identity, not rights, benefits or entitlements.
A pro-poor approach: The UIDAI envisions full enrolment of the residents, with a focus on enrolling India's poor and underprivileged communities. The Registrars that the Authority plans to partner with in its first phase such as – the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), and Public Distribution System (PDS) – will help bring large number of the poor and underprivileged into the UID system. The UID method of authentication will also improve service delivery for the poor.
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 plans to enrol residents into its database with proper verification of their demographic and biometric information. This will ensure that the data collected is clean right from the beginning of the program. However, much of the poor and underserved population lack identity documents and the UID may be the first form of identification they will have access to. The Authority will ensure that the Know Your Resident (KYR) standards do not become a barrier for enrolling the poor, and will devise suitable procedures to ensure their inclusion without compromising the integrity of the data.
A partnership model: The UIDAI approach leverages the existing infrastructure of government and private agencies across India. The UIDAI will be the regulatory authority managing a Central ID Repository (CIDR), which will issue Aadhaar, update resident information and authenticate the identity of the residents as required.
In addition, the Authority will partner with agencies such as central and state departments and private sector agencies, who will be 'Registrars' for the UIDAI. Registrars will process Aadhaar applications, and connect to the CIDR to de-duplicate resident information and receive Aadhaar. The Authority will also partner with service providers for authentication of identity.
The UIDAI will emphasize a flexible model for Registrars: The Registrars will ensure significant flexibility in their processes, including issuing cards, pricing, expanding KYR verification, collecting demographic data of residents for their specific requirements, and in authentication. The UIDAI will provide standards to enable Registrars to maintain uniformity in collecting certain demographic and biometric information, and in performing basic KYR activities. These standards will be finalised by the KYR and biometric committees constituted by the Authority.
Process to ensure no duplicates: Registrars will send the applicant's data to the CIDR for de-duplication. The CIDR will perform a search on key demographic fields and on the biometrics for each new enrolment, to minimise/eliminate duplicates in the database.
The incentives in the UIDAI system are aligned towards a self-cleaning mechanism. The existing patchwork of multiple databases in India provides scope to individuals to furnish different personal information to different agencies. Since de-duplication in the UIDAI system ensures that residents have only one chance to be in the database, individuals are made to provide accurate data. This incentive will become especially powerful as benefits and entitlements are linked to Aadhaar.
Online authentication: The Authority will offer a strong form of online authentication, where agencies can compare demographic and biometric information of the resident with the record stored in the central database. The Authority will support Registrars and Agencies in adopting the Aadhaar authentication process, and will help defining the infrastructure and processes they need.
The UIDAI will not share resident data: The Authority envisions a balance between 'privacy and purpose' when it comes to the information it collects on residents. The agencies may store the information of the residents they enrol if they are authorised to do so, but will not have access to the information in the Aadhaar database. The UIDAI will answer all requests to authenticate identity only through a 'Yes' or 'No' response. The Authority will also enter into contracts with Registrars to ensure the confidentiality of the information they collect and store.
Data Transparency: The authority will place all the aggregated data for public to access under RTI. However Personal Identity Information (PII) will NOT be accessible by any entity.
Technology will undergird the UIDAI system: Technology systems will have a major role across the UIDAI infrastructure. The Aadhaar database will be stored on a central server. Enrolment of the residents will be computerised, and information exchange between Registrars and the CIDR will take place over a network. Authentication of the residents will be online. The Authority will also put systems in place for the security and safety of information.