UIDAI dismisses doubts over accuracy of unique ID system

According to the UIDAI study, it has been affirmed that the authority’s biometric enrolment system is ready to handle high throughput of up to 10 lakh registrations per day and has 99.965% accuracy in terms of duplication detection

New Delhi: Dispelling fears that the biometric technology being employed for the Aadhaar project is flawed, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Monday asserted that its system is reliable and can achieve the task of providing unique ID cards to the entire population of the country, reports PTI.

“Based on the analysis, the UIDAI confirms that the enrolment system has proven to be reliable, accurate and scalable to meet the nation’s need of providing unique Aadhaar numbers to the entire population,” the UIDAI said.

Amid concerns raised by the home ministry about the quality of data collected by the UIDAI, which could be a security threat, the body today released a report titled, ‘The Role of Biometric technology in Aadhaar Enrolment’, which confirms the high degree of accuracy of biometrics used in the UID project in the context of the large-scale enrolment across India.

The Planning Commission and the home ministry are at loggerheads over the need for the UID project, with both putting forward their respective points of view to prime minister Manmohan Singh.

The controversy is centred on the collection of biometric data of all residents. While the home ministry has maintained that data collected by the Registrar General of India for the National Population Register should form the basis for issuance of unique ID cards, the Planning Commission has reposed faith in the data collected by the Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI.

The Union Cabinet is likely to discuss the proposal for allowing the UIDAI to continue its work beyond the mandated 200 million enrolments on Tuesday.

According to the UIDAI study, it has been affirmed that the authority's biometric enrolment system is ready to handle high throughput of up to 10 lakh registrations per day and has 99.965% accuracy in terms of duplication detection.

The system meets the country’s requirements in terms of scale as well, with the database capable of accommodating 1.2 billion people.

“The UIDAI biometric system is processing over 100 trillion biometric person matches with a high degree of accuracy each day, capable of issuing 10 lakh Aadhaars daily.

This makes it not only one of the most accurate, but soon to be the largest biometric system in the world,” UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said in a statement here.

“This certainly gives us a high degree of confidence in executing this project of national importance with scale and accuracy,” UIDAI director general RS Sharma said.


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David Moss

7 years ago

The Unique Identification Authority of India's report, Role of Biometric Technology in Aadhaar Enrollment, claims that a biometric failure to enrol rate of 0.14%, a false positive identification rate of 0.057% and a false negative identification rate of 0.035% were all achieved by their Aadhaar scheme while there were 84 million people's biometrics on the register.
These figures are staggering. No respectable expert has ever claimed that such reliability could be achieved.
Equally, these figures are merely asserted. They have not been audited. There is no independent opinion available, only UIDAI's.
It is to be hoped that someone will audit the figures. They deserve a lot of independent, academic attention because, if they are correct, the state of the art has been transformed, biometrics has gone through a revolution. And if they are incorrect, then they need to be withdrawn quickly, before they take on the authority of scientific truth.


7 years ago

It is more than 6 months since we completed the formalities. We have not received the Cards. Where do I do the follow up.

Samir Kelekar

7 years ago

Accuracy of UID system can be undermined at the input level itself. Put on a fake fingerprint of someone else, and you have a new identity. No de-dup algo can catch it because it is not a duplicate. Steal someone's biometric data and you can impersonate that person. Hackers undermine systems in such ways too. Check out the ATM machine frauds that are happening every day in India.



In Reply to Samir Kelekar 7 years ago

Is it so simple and easy to copy 10 fingures and iris. I do not thing so. There are countries which are using only thumb impression and iris for immigration for years. And the countries are known for their rigidity. The only diffierence I guess I know is, in those guilties are punished severely and definitely. In India the major concern is even if you are caught, you are set free, and if you are set free, even on bail, you will a shameless hero's welcome. Probably readers have guessed my city of residence.

Samir Kelekar

In Reply to Vaidya 7 years ago

Yes, it is not difficult. Besides, one doesnt have to fake 10 fingers and iris as the authentication depends on just one finger. There is a youtube video on how one can fake one's own finger. The process to pick up another person's finger from a glass is slightly more complex but not difficult. Besides, the ration card shop owner could pick up the digital versions of this on his computer. Remember fingerprints are not picked up encyrpted. They get encrypted later.

UIDAI reverts to its mandate of providing only Aadhaar numbers

The Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI wanted to issue Aadhaar cards instead of the laminated letter mentioning the UID number. However, all of a sudden, it has cancelled its tender issued for printing of Aadhaar cards without giving any reason

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is on a high for tagging residents under its ambitious unique ID (UID) project Aadhaar, has been compelled to stick with its mandate and not venture out of its marked territory. The UIDAI, led by Nandan Nilekani, has cancelled its tender for printing of Aadhaar cards within a month of issuing it, without giving any reason.

Earlier, on 4th October, the UIDAI issued a tender, (F. No. 14014/07/2011-Logistics) inviting bids for printing and delivery of Aadhaar cards. The notice said, "As of now, UID number is being delivered to the resident in the form of a laminated letter through post. Now the GoI (Govt of India) has decided to deliver the UID/Aadhaar number in the form of an Aadhaar Card. This Request for Proposal document is intended to invite bids from reputed and reliable firms for undertaking the work of Printing of the Aadhaar Card and delivering that card to the designated Post Offices across India. The data for the preparation of Cards will be provided by the UIDAI in electronic form."

The UIDAI launched the Aadhaar scheme in September last year and the authority is expected to issue two crore UID (12-digit unique) numbers by end-March 2012. So far the UIDAI has generated 5.96 crore Aadhaar numbers and more than one crore residents have enrolled themselves in the system across the country.

Issuing any identification card under the Aadhaar scheme was never the mandate of UIDAI. Here is what the site of the Authority says: "UIDAI has been created as an attached office under the Planning Commission. Its role is to develop and implement the necessary institutional, technical and legal infrastructure to issue unique identity numbers to Indian residents."

However, the tender inviting notice shows that the Authority is acting on the decision taken by the government. Currently, the UIDAI is under heavy criticism for concerns like privacy issues, use of biometrics and the incentives being paid for enrolling more residents. Many voices have been raised against the forceful implementation of the UID project, with most objections focused on concerns over privacy. The incentive issue will certainly push government employees to enrol more residents by any means, when they don't know what Aadhaar is and how it would affect their lives.

While some activists, like Advocate Kamayani Bali Mahabal had started petitioning the Prime Minister, others like VK Somasekhar, founder-trustee of Grahak Shakti and Col (Retd.) Thomas Mathew of Citizens' Action Forum have sent legal notices to UIDAI and the Planning Commission questioning their “illegal” activities in implementing the UID project, or Aadhaar, without any legal authority to do so.

The National Identification Authority of India (NIA) Bill is still pending before Parliament. The Bill seeks to constitute a statutory authority and lay down its powers and functions, besides deciding the framework to issue the UID or Aadhaar numbers. Yet, the Indian government and UIDAI have gone about implementing the scheme and issuing Aadhaar numbers without any Constitutional validity as yet.

According to an expert, the government is the Executive not empowered by the Constitution to implement projects spending public money without legislative sanction. "In the case of UIDAI, while the Executive may appoint anyone to head it, the government is legally constrained from implementing the project and issuing Aadhaar numbers," the expert said.

The NIA Bill is under the consideration of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and has members from across the political spectrum.

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6 years ago

A printed laminated card will be a good thing for applicant because we can easily forget this 12 digit number of aadhaar. But may be UIDAI be not capable it to provide to the large population of India.


7 years ago

Why did the jokers in Government embark on a Rupee1000000000000 project (a reported estimate ) without even a parliamentary debate and without educating the general public about its need.

Mohan Naik

7 years ago

Why did these jokers like Kamayani Bali Mahabal not talk of privacy and other issues when fingerprints, irises etc were capture for several other projects like MNREGA, RSBY and several other Ration Card project before Unique ID?



In Reply to Mohan Naik 7 years ago

May I ask where were you at that time? Also try to understand the difference between collecting biometric data of thousands of gullible people and then feeding it to for profit organisations, is bigger CRIME. Nobody, like MNREGA, RSBY and Ration Card project shared or sold your bloody data to money seeking hunters.

UIDAI working under the powers delegated by PM: Nilekani

The issue came up after Planning Commission reportedly expressed concerns that UIDAI is departing from set government procedures and suggested a re-look into its structures

New Delhi: Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) chief Nandan Nilekani today asserted that the authority set up for issuing national identity cards was working under the powers delegated by the prime minister, reports PTI.

"My powers have been delegated by the prime minister," UIDAI chairman Mr Nilekani said when asked whether the authority was on a collision course with the Planning Commission.

"We are an attached office of the Planning Commission and by series of government orders, several authorities have been delegated to us," he said.

The issue came up after Planning Commission reportedly expressed concerns that UIDAI is departing from set government procedures and suggested a re-look into its structures.

The Commission reportedly in a communication to the finance ministry said UIDAI has not got any of its financial proposal examined by the panel's secretary or financial adviser.

The Plan panel had also suggested to the finance ministry that a full time financial adviser be deputed in the authority.

Explaining further, Mr Nilekani said: "(director general of UIDAI) Ram Sewak Sharma's powers are delegated by the deputy chairman, Planning Commission. The powers of financial adviser K Ganga (of UIDAI) have been delegated by the expenditure secretary.'

"We are working within the powers granted to us. If somebody feels that power should be different, then that is a different matter," he pointed out.

On transparency issue, Mr Nilekani said: "We follow every government process and procurement procedures to the key. We set the highest standards of transparency and integrity in our operations."

"We are working in the government system. We have tight financial controls. Everything is on our website," Mr Nilekani added.

When asked whether there were any problems related to availability of funds, he said: "We are quite happy with finances. We have absolutely no issues. We are authorised to enroll 200 million people and beyond that the Cabinet will take a decision."

About using iris scan for issuing the unique identity number, Mr Nilekani said it is a closed issue because the decision was taken one-and-a-half years ago.

"Iris scan is absolutely imperative. People who work in the fields or other manual labour, the likelihood of their finger prints eroding is there. The cost of an iris scan is marginal at about Rs5 per person and Rs500 crore for entire project," he added.

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