The Telegraph
Saturday , May 25 , 2013
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Aadhaar triple booster
- Identity verification options without use of cards

New Delhi, May 24: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) today unveiled three services that will help people authenticate their identity anytime, anywhere by just using their Aadhaar number instead of the card.

The iris-based authentication, OTP (one-time password) and e-KYC (know your customer) services will ensure Aadhaar cardholders don’t have to carry address or identity proofs to get a phone or cooking gas connection.

Service providers like banks or telecom firms merely have to use one of the three options to identify customers.

Last year, the UIDAI had introduced fingerprint-based authentication services. About 34.5 crore people have so far received Aadhaar numbers.

“There were some reservations about the fingerprint authentication method in cases of manual labourers whose fingers wear off in old age. Iris is one thing that is not affected by blindness, cataract or age,” said Vijay Madan, the director-general of the UIDAI.

The one-time password, among the other services launched today, is based on cellphone numbers given by nearly 40 per cent of the Aadhaar cardholders. When a cardholder has to identified, only his unique number has to be keyed in by the service provider, based on which a one-time password will be sent to the holder’s mobile number.

When this password is fed back into the system, the Aadhaar cardholder’s identity will be verified. This will be the cheapest way of verification because it will not involve a fingerprint device or an iris scanner.

The electronic know-your-customer option, e-KYC, will enable individuals to authorise service providers to receive electronic copies of their addresses and identity proofs. The service can be used by different agencies.

Only demographic information (name, address, date of birth, gender, photograph) collected during Aadhaar enrolment will be shared, at the request of, and/or with the consent of the Aadhaar number holder.

To check misuse, the information will be available for only a few seconds. “The data can be accessed by any service provider only through the consent of the Aadhaar holder,” Madan, the UIDAI director-general, said.

Authority chairperson Nandan Nilekani said the goal now was to increase enrolments. “With these three services, we have now provided the entire suite of services that we intend to offer. Now we need to scale up enrolments. We hope to have 60 crore enrolments by 2014.”

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Planning Commission deputy chairman who was also present at the launch today, called the services a “game changer” that would help check frauds and corruption in welfare schemes.