UIDAI plans to expand Aadhar’s reach from birth to death

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New Delhi: Newborn babies will soon be given a temporary Aadhaar number to be renewed with biometric data on reaching majority, senior officials have told ET, as the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) prepares to launch two ambitious pilot programs aimed at blocking abuse and deepening its reach across the country. It will also integrate its data with death records to prevent the misappropriation of government benefits using the Aadhaar numbers of deceased citizens.

The world’s largest biometric identity database, which has registered nearly all of India’s adult population since its launch in 2010, is now looking to extend the reach of Aadhaar to cover the entire cycle of a person’s life, from birth to death.

“Assigning a UIDAI number at birth will ensure that children and families benefit from government programs and that no one is left out of the social safety net,” an official quoted above said. While the integration of Aadhaar numbers with the country’s death registration databases as well as those of public and private hospitals aims to stem the leakage of direct benefit transfers.

The pilot for these two (programs) will begin soon, officials told ET.

“Children’s biometrics are taken when they are at least five years old. Our teams can visit the families of these newborns after this period and complete the formalities of registering their biometrics and assigning them a permanent Aadhaar number,” said said a senior official.

Additionally, once a child turns 18, the biometrics are re-enrolled “as these parameters stabilize by then and remain the same for the remaining natural life of an (individual),” added the person while noting that “this will also ensure that multiple identifiers are not generated for the same child.

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Since its launch, Aadhaar numbers have been provided to most Indian adults with coverage in the 5-18 age group estimated at 93%, but only a quarter of infants under five in the country are registered. in the identity database.

Emphasizing that the provision for assigning temporary Aadhaar numbers to newborn babies has existed since its inception, Ashok Pal Singh, former Deputy Director General of UIDAI, said it was “encouraging to see the plan implemented now. “.

Follow-up of the deceased

In addition to verifying data with city and state birth registration databases, UIDAI also plans to contact public and private hospitals for data on deceased persons to ensure that there is no duplication, officials said.

The spike in death rates due to the Covid pandemic has led to an increase in cases of direct benefit transfers still being paid to the Aadhaar number of deceased citizens, according to government sources. “The pensions of recently deceased people are always withdrawn or automatically credited to their accounts because the Aadhaar number is still active. This is not desirable,” they added.

Furthermore, in an effort to prevent the generation of false numbers or the assignment of multiple Aadhaar numbers to the same person, the UIDAI also plans to assign “Zero Aadhaar” only to those persons who are introduced by Aadhaar Introducers with a verified “electronic sign”. ”.

A “Zero Aadhaar” number is assigned to a person who has no other proof of birth, residence or income, such as a birth certificate, house or tax return receipts, among others.

A person is “introduced” into the Aadhaar ecosystem by an Aadhaar Introducer who is, from time to time, notified by a Registrar in the UIDAI Regional Office.

“An electronic sign will ensure that the introducer is genuine and we can verify the number of people he introduced across the country,” an official quoted above said.

Cross check

A fourth project – also on the anvil – to prevent abuse, is the verification of the Aadhaar number by cross-checking it with national datasets such as driver’s license, permanent account number, passport and other documents. which are stored in the Digilocker, official sources told ET.

“A pilot project on cross-checking Aadhaar numbers with driving license is already underway. The general idea is to allocate and contain the allocation of Aadhaar numbers to one per person and eliminate all inefficiencies in the system to avoid losses to the public treasury,” said one person quoted above.

Over the past five years, 19.63
crore new Aadhaar numbers were assigned, while 52 crore updates of existing Aadhaar numbers were made from March 2017 to March 2022.

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