Aadhaar number is a 12-digit random number issued by the UIDAI (“Authority”) to the residents of India after satisfying the verification process laid down by the Authority. Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident of India, may voluntarily enrol to obtain Aadhaar number. Person willing to enrol has to provide minimal demographic and biometric information during the enrolment process which is totally free of cost. An individual needs to enrol for Aadhaar only once and after de-duplication only one Aadhaar shall be generated, as the uniqueness is achieved through the process of demographic and biometric de-duplication.
Aadhaar number is verifiable in an online, cost-effective way. It is unique and robust enough to eliminate duplicates and fake identities and may be used as a basis/primary identifier to roll out several Government welfare schemes and programmes for effective service delivery thereby promoting transparency and good governance. This is the only program of its kind globally, wherein a state-of-the-art digital and online Id is being provided free of cost at such a large scale to people, and has the potential to change the way service delivery functions in the country.
Aadhaar number is devoid of any intelligence and does not profile people based on caste, religion, income, health and geography. The Aadhaar number is a proof of identity, however, it does not confer any right of citizenship or domicile in respect of an Aadhaar number holder.
Aadhaar is a strategic policy tool for social and financial inclusion, public sector delivery reforms, managing fiscal budgets, increase convenience and promote hassle-free people-centric governance. Aadhaar can be used as a permanent Financial Address and facilitates financial inclusion of the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society and is therefore a tool of distributive justice and equality. The Aadhaar identity platform is one of the key pillars of the ‘Digital India’, wherein every resident of the country is provided with a unique identity. The Aadhaar programme has already achieved several milestones and is by far the largest biometrics based identification system in the world.
Aadhaar identity platform with its inherent features of Uniqueness, Authentication, Financial Address and e-KYC, enables the Government of India to directly reach residents of the country in delivery of various subsidies, benefits and services by using the resident’s Aadhaar number only.
Aadhaar Authentication means the process by which the Aadhaar number along with the demographic information or biometric information of a Aadhaar number holder is submitted to the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) for its verification and such repository verifies the correctness, or the lack thereof, on the basis of the information available with it.
Modes Of Authentication. —
- An authentication request shall be entertained by the Authority only upon a request sent by a requesting entity electronically in accordance with these regulations and conforming to the specifications laid down by the Authority.
- Authentication may be carried out through the following modes:
- Demographic authentication: The Aadhaar number and demographic information of the Aadhaar number holder obtained from the Aadhaar number holder is matched with the demographic information of the Aadhaar number holder in the CIDR.
- One-time pin based authentication: A One Time Pin (OTP), with limited time validity, is sent to the mobile number and/ or e-mail address of the Aadhaar number holder registered with the Authority, or generated by other appropriate means. The Aadhaar number holder shall provide this OTP along with his Aadhaar number during authentication and the same shall be matched with the OTP generated by the Authority.
- Biometric-based authentication: The Aadhaar number and biometric information submitted by an Aadhaar number holder are matched with the biometric information of the said Aadhaar number holder stored in the CIDR. This may be fingerprints-based or iris-based authentication or other biometric modalities based on biometric information stored in the CIDR.
- Multi-factor authentication: A combination of two or more of the above modes may be used for authentication.
- A requesting entity may choose suitable mode(s) of authentication from the modes specified in sub-regulation (2) for a particular service or business function as per its requirement, including multiple factor of authentication for enhancing security. For the avoidance of doubt, it is clarified that e-KYC authentication shall only be carried out using OTP and/ or biometric authentication.
Obtaining Aadhaar Number Holder’s Consent For Authentication
The Central / State Government may, for the purpose of establishing the identity of individual as a condition for receipt of subsidy, benefit or service require that such individual undergo authentication, or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or in the case of an individual to whom no Aadhaar number has been assigned, such individual makes an application for enrolment of Aadhaar.
If an Aadhaar number is not assigned to an individual, the individual shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of subsidy, benefit or service.
In compliance with Aadhaar Act, all requesting entities or service providers shall
- unless otherwise provided in the Act, obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his/her identity information for the purpose of authentication in such manner as mandated by UIDAI’s policy and regulations.
- ensure that the identity information of an individual is only used for submission to the CIDR for authentication.
Nothing contained in this Aadhaar Act shall prevent the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the State or anybody corporate or person, pursuant by law, for the time being in force, or any contract to this effect.
Provided that the use of Aadhaar number shall be subject to the procedure and obligations under section 8 and Chapter VI of the Act.