UIDAI does not have any statistics of UID progress to share

The UIDAI has rolled out its ambitious UID or Aadhaar project. However, there is no information or update about the progress of Aadhaar, except from Mr Nilekani who said the same would be made available in two weeks. 

Nandan Nilekani-led Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which started collecting data, including biometrics and issuing unique identification (UID) numbers to people does not have any update on the progress.

Moneylife sent a mail to Mr Nilekani asking about the progress of its ambitious UID project, Aadhaar. We asked him about the total number of people enrolled for Aadhaar, the number of de-duplications required for fingerprints, iris scan and face pictures (all forms part of biometrics) and the number of cases where de-duplication was not possible. (De-duplication means to eliminate duplicate or redundant information).

We asked the UIDAI chairman if its database is ready for authentication process and number of people who have successfully authenticated their UIDs at least once as well as percentage of false positives and negatives during the authentication. Moneylife also asked if the authority can share the statistics and update it on a regular basis.

We received just one line mail from Mr Nilekani, in which he says, "We will be shortly be having a Public Data Portal on our website www.uidai.gov.in within two weeks which will answer all the relevant questions in your email."
Separately, according to a report from the Hindu, the government of Kerala, the only State that mandates the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in governance recently found that the client enrolment software used is only compatible with Windows.

The UIDAI is using a software that is compatible only with Microsoft's Windows operating system (OS), for its ambitious UID or Aadhaar project. However, this has irked many activists as well as advocates of open source software since UIDAI itself has mandated that all the middleware used in Aadhaar must be vendor neutral. This means it should not be dependent on any particular software and must work across the OS or platforms.

In Kerala, which has embraced open platforms, this is a vexatious issue because virtual device managers, which provide an interface for applications to devices such as biometric devices - are not Linux-compatible, the newspaper report said.
Kerala has declared that it will provide the UID number to over 60 lakh schoolchildren in the state under the UIDAI initiative and has selected Akshaya, [email protected] and Keltron as enrolment agencies for the work. However, in countries around the world where a national ID card system is being used, these IDs are given only to those above the age of 14 years and not to school-going children between five years and 14 years of age. (Read Is the UIDAI database vulnerable? http://www.moneylife.in/article/78/9594.html )

What is interesting in the case of Kerala is all three agencies appointed to do the enrolment of students use only Linux OS, which is completely different from Windows OS. Speaking with the Hindu, Ashok Dalwai, deputy director-general, UIDAI, said this is a "Kerala-specific issue." He confirmed that all enrolment software is 'purely for the Windows platform.' "For now, we have asked Kerala to go ahead with laptops with Windows. Our developers will work towards Linux compliance later," he told the newspaper.

This has left many activists and advocates of open source software furious as they feel depending on a particular vendor, especially Microsoft, which is known for its Windows and the unending security issues associated with the OS, to speed up the UID process.

Just last month, VK Saraswat, scientific advisor to the defence minister said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) would spearhead an effort to develop India's own futuristic computer OS to thwart cyber crimes like data theft.

Mr Saraswat, who is also director general of DRDO, said, "In today's world, where you have tremendous requirements of security on whatever you do... economy, banking and defence... it's essential that you need to have an operating system."

UIDAI has been facing criticism for rolling out UID numbers to 'residents' and not to 'citizens' of India in addition to privacy and security issues related with its database. Many activists and analysts are now questioning the motive behind the authority's approach to align with one particular vendor and diluting its vendor neutral mandate.
 

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COMMENTS

David Moss

8 years ago

May I bring to your attention the following article, 'India's ID card scheme – drowning in a sea of false positives', available at http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Drown.h...

... more questions which it would be nice if UIDAI could answer them.

Satheesh

8 years ago

Please visit the Below URL for the UID Progress

http://portal.uidai.gov.in/uidwebportal/...

Anil Kabra

8 years ago

We have to see the overall good it is likely to do.
Let's face it Windows is being used by over 95% of Computer users. OS issues can always be sorted out late.
Till then whoever has OS issues may opt not to join, but cannot be a hindrance to such a potentially good work.

REPLY

Samir Kelekar

In Reply to Anil Kabra 8 years ago

What the heck is the overall good?
Millions of dollars in contracts to L-1 identiy solutions, which is owned by dubious elements involved in Iraq war?

Yes, OS issues can always be sorted out late.
Before that, let us loot and scoot! :-)

samir

V Malik

8 years ago

Here's a copy of the RTI application I sent to UIDAI, to which I have not rcvd a response as yet . . .

The CPIO,
Unique Identification Authority of India,
3rd Floor, Tower II, Jeevan Bharati Building,
Connaught Circus, New Delhi - 110001.

dtd: 12th September 2010


Greetings & Jai Hind!!

Most humbly request information under the RTI Act of India, 2005, Please provide me with the following information.

Notes:- (1) I wish to specify that you may please not provide to me that information (or particular portion thereof) which would impede the prosecution of offenders under any law of India, and also any personal information which is unconnected with any public activity/interest or which invades the privacy of any person. (2) THIS INFORMATION IS SOUGHT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, AND THERE IS OVER-RIDING PARAMOUNT LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST TO BE GIVEN THE INFORMATION I HAVE ASKED FOR.

+++

1) Kindly provide me with information including full name, address and website, on the foreign companies and/or entities entrusted with work for UIDAI which are of US origin or control.

2) Kindly provide me with information including full name, address and website, on the foreign companies and/or entities entrusted with work for UIDAI which are non-US origin or control.

3) Kindly provide me with information on which of the foreign companies and/or entities entrusted with work for UIDAI are redirecting the work to subcontractors or subsidiaries or other entities in India.

4) Kindly provide me with information on what precautions have been taken by UIDAI to prevent any adverse impact on Indian interests in case of unilateral sanctions of any sort by US Government or other foreign Government. (eg: Shut down of Visa / MasterCard / AmEx services to Indian credit card issuers and holders in Iran)

+++

sent by eMail and signed hard copy

(signed)
Humbly submitted,





Veeresh Malik,
D-61,
Defence Colony,
New Delhi - 11oo24

mobile: 00-91-99118-25500

Note 1:-Application fee of Rs. 10/- in cash shall be submitted within 30 days as per procedure laid down by DoP&T at PIO, UIDAI, Delhi 11oo01 or at any one of the nominated APIOs located at the specified Post Offices in India, and a copy of this application along with receipt shall be sent to you co-terminus. Interim, you are requested to commence processing this RTI Application as per the RTI Act-2005 with effect from date of submission of this electronic copy, also as per the RTI Act-2005.

Note 2:- The public authority, Office of UIDAI, has not yet published their arrangements to accept / accompany electronic payments for e-filings as per section 6 of the Information Technology Act 2000, is requested to do same, - and hence I am constrained to go to extra expense / trouble to file a routine email request by Postal Department also.

Vijay

8 years ago

Stat needs minimum sample. One should be at least have few months of patience. Its foolish to expect stat within a month for a project that is going to be there for 5 years!! Do you not believe that the citizens are at risk not only from fellow citizens but also from other residents? UID is a must for as many as possible.

REPLY

satheesh

In Reply to Vijay 8 years ago

Please visit this UID Portal and see the progress

http://portal.uidai.gov.in/uidwebportal/...

Samir Kelekar

In Reply to satheesh 8 years ago

How many among these could be enrolled with no problems in de-duplication? How many had trouble getting de-duplicated? Further, how many have been able to authenticate their UIDs without any problem ? Was everything hunky-dory or not? Giving all the info would be being transparent.

samir

UID: Will NAC come to the rescue of India’s democracy?

It is important that the UID project be halted and a committee be appointed to look into the various issues plaguing the project; further, a thorough feasibility and impact assessment study is needed before more taxpayer money is spent on this venture

Today's Hindustan Times carries an article titled 'Unique ID plan hits advisory panel roadblock'. The article states that some of the members of NAC (the National Advisory Council, an apex body appointed by the prime minister and headed by Sonia Gandhi, UPA chairperson), have raised serious concerns about the UID project.

"There is no real informed debate on the project which has enormous potential of segregating the population (based on few parameters). It is a matter concerning people at large - public money being spent to profile common public," a member told Hindustan Times, adding the opinion is shared by some more people in the council.

"There is a vast difference between the census and UID. Without explaining what it means, memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are being inked with private companies. They say UID would reform systems like the public distribution system (PDS), but no detail of how it will is available in the public domain," said activist Aruna Roy.

The NAC of India is an advisory body set up to monitor the implementation of the UPA government's manifesto, the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). It is a brainchild of Congress party president, Sonia Gandhi. It is also informally called as UPA's Planning Commission for social agenda.

The NAC is a mix of activists, retired bureaucrats, economists, politicians and an industrialist with unstinting passion for social change.

To give an instance of the stellar record of the members of the NAC, here is a brief from their Wikipedia profiles.

Aruna Roy is a political and social activist who founded and heads the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana ('Workers and Peasants Strength Union'). She is best known as a prominent leader of the Right to Information movement, which led to the enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in 2005. In 2000, she received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.

Anu Aga is an Indian businesswoman and social worker, who led Thermax Ltd, the Rs 830-crore energy and environment engineering major, as its chairperson from 1996-2004. She had figured among the eighth richest Indian women, and in 2007 was part of the 40 Richest Indians by net worth according to Forbes magazine.

After retiring from Thermax, she took to social work, and in 2010 was awarded the Padma Shri (Social Work) by the Indian government.

Jean Drèze is a development economist who has been influential in Indian economic policymaking. He is a naturalised Indian of Belgian origin. His work in India includes issues like hunger, famine, gender inequality, child health and education, and the NREGA. He had conceptualised and drafted the first version of the NREGA.

His co-authors include Nobel laureate in economics Amartya Sen, with whom he has written on famine, and Nicholas Stern, with whom he has written on policy reform when market prices are distorted. He is currently an honorary Professor at the Delhi School of Economics, and Senior Professor at the GB Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad.

Deep Joshi is an Indian social worker and NGO activist and the recipient of the 2009 Magsaysay award. He was recognised for his vision and leadership in bringing professionalism to the NGO movement in India. He co-founded a non-profit organisation, Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) of which he is the executive director. He was awarded the 2009 Magsaysay award for Community Leadership for his work for 'development of rural communities'.

Some of the members of the NAC want answers to questions about UID. Nandan Nilekani, UIDAI chairperson, was supposed to address the NAC on Monday, but apparently the discussion has been postponed to late September.

As has been stated by various articles, these concerns are not just valid but are of a very serious nature. To put it bluntly, the UID is building an infrastructure for future authoritarianism in the country. It is most important to thrash these concerns out completely. In fact, it is important that the UID project be halted and a committee be appointed to look into these issues deeply; further a thorough feasibility and impact assessment study is needed before more of taxpayer's money is spent on this project. What is at stake is not just possibly hundreds of thousands of crores of  taxpayer's money, but democracy itself.

Let us hope that the esteemed NAC members will have a thorough discussion with UIDAI regarding this issue, and resolve these issues.

(The author has a B Tech from IIT Bombay, and a PhD from Columbia University, New York. He currently runs a start-up, Teknotrends Software Pvt Ltd that does cutting-edge work in the area of network security).
 

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COMMENTS

HUZEFA

8 years ago

I absolutely agree with arihant, there is no head or tail to this article. It’s just meaningless. Not a thing is mentioned about how uid is wrong. Its such journalism which is plaguing India today
The other interesting thing is there is so much wrong in India today, instead of writing about that these kind of journalist write about non issues

Arhant

8 years ago

Let all the concerns be listed serially in the article rather than trying to garner respect on the basis of the profiles of people.

This article appears to be more of an attempt to scare and brainwash than inform. I am expecting that ML will ensure sufficient factual and relevant detailing of any such articles in future.

K B Patil

8 years ago

You have the NAC and then you have the cabinet. Of the cabinet members, the HM is easily the most effective and dynamic person, a go getter. The flip side is that he is very obstinate. As Digvijay Singh put it aptly, he suffers from "INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE".
So, all citizens who rightly prize their privacy, are worried about the government's overdrive regarding access to emails, our mobile conversations etc. Imagine how vulnerable we will be in a corrupt setup. Apart from the daily routine corruption that we all face, babus can now have a great new way of making money on the side. Just access a person's bank records and you might have a whole lot of identity theft and similar problems. Isn't it our Home Minister's duty to build in adequate safeguards. I dont see any and that's my worry.

Ram Krishnaswamy

8 years ago

Let us hope that the National Advisory Council can apply the breaks on this runaway train called Aadhaar before a catastrophic crash

ramdass

8 years ago

The manner in which UID is being pushed through despite some serious objections is a matter of concern. I agree with the author that the UID project has to be halted until all aspects of UID, including those relating to privacy, are reviewed in a transparent manner. Going by the composition of NAC, it appears to be the right forum where a beginning can be made. . Given the importance of the issue, I hope that NAC would be able to take it up in the next meeting.

UID not in public interest, say civil society groups

A meeting of civil society groups from across the country trashed the government’s ambitious UID scheme, saying it is deeply undemocratic, expensive and fraught with unforeseen consequences

The government is set to issue the first set of unique identities (UID) to about 100 million people in the current fiscal year as part of its ambitious project to give every Indian citizen access to good governance and provide basic services to the poor. Already, however, some chinks in the armour have begun to appear in this landmark initiative, which was the subject of hot debate at a recent public meeting organised yesterday at the Constitution Club in New Delhi by a coalition of civil society groups under the banner of 'Campaign for No UID'.

The technological, economic, social and political aspects of the National Identification Authority Bill currently before Parliament came under heavy scrutiny at the meeting, which saw participation from groups from Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. Speakers at the meeting asserted that the government's claims are grossly exaggerated, false and unjustified. One of the claims made by the government is that the project will put a stop to leakages in the public distribution system (PDS). However, it was pointed out that issues such as corruption and non-inclusion of families under BPL (Below the Poverty Line) ensure that PDS does not meet its stated objectives. The issuance of a 12-digit number to the poor will therefore hardly result in them accessing cheap food.

Another doubtful claim by the government is that UID will lead to financial inclusion for beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). But again, this does not make sense because 83% already have bank accounts and systemic thefts remain a deeper concern, which will not be addressed by UID.

In fact, it is very likely that many poor people will actually be excluded from accessing services because of technical problems with the use of biometrics. JT D'Souza, an expert on biometrics, asserted that using biometrics as a core authenticator is deeply flawed as it has never been tested on such a large scale (850 million people) and is easily susceptible to forgery. Research by experts shows that with the technology available today a $10 investment can spoof finger-print and iris scanners with fake fingers and patterned contact lenses.

The meeting also noted that the functioning of the UID has been non-transparent and undemocratic. It was pointed out that despite setting up the UID Authority of India (UIDAI) in June 2009, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is yet to issue a white paper on the scheme and how it is going to go about delivering basic social services to the poor.

Senior Member of Parliament from the Revolutionary Socialist Party of India (RSP) Abani Roy called for the launching of a massive campaign to resist this expensive and dangerous project through which several companies will gain massive contracts from the public exchequer. The budget estimates vary from Rs45,000 crore to Rs1.5 lakh crore. He also noted that the UID is yet to be comprehensively discussed or debated in Parliament.

It is now increasingly apparent that the UID project is a half-baked idea that will drain the coffers of the exchequer without showing much for it. The project aims to cover only 600 million people over the next five years, at an estimated cost of Rs45,000 crore. However, nobody seems to be factoring the likelihood of a further escalation in costs for the project due to inflation and other reasons. This will be a huge burden on the nation - money which should be directed towards more pressing needs like infrastructure development, education etc., will find its way to the pockets of a few companies under contract from the government.
 
There is also the issue of duplication of identities. If the government's aim is to provide an ID to those who are at the sidelines of society, then it is overlooking the fact that people who already have PAN cards and passports will be issued another ID, making for a large chunk of the target group. As such, this exercise will barely benefit half the target number, as they have alternative IDs.

Most unfortunately, the real objective behind this project is being drowned out in the frenetic attempt to bring out the UIDs. Sadly even the revered technocrat Nandan Nilekani, who has been assigned the project responsibility, seems to be directing his attention more towards putting the mechanism in place for the project and authenticating the technical aspects. In his zealous drive to get the job done, he has perhaps lost touch of whether the project will ultimately create meaningful value for the nation.

The question that begs to be answered is: Is this project genuinely in the national interest or does it serve some underhand purpose of the government? 

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COMMENTS

mak

8 years ago

Government should immediately stop the expensive ID issuing exercise. What is the hurry in such important project. And why should it be so expensive... nobody understand. This work should be given to the offices where the Birth Certificates are issued. GOVERNMENT CAN START ISSUING IDs TO ONLY NEW BORN BABIES NOW ONWARDS. AND MAKE SURE THERE IS ONLY ONE ID PER PERSON. THIS WILL SAVE A LOT OF PUBLIC MONEY.
ONCE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS GOVERNMENT CAN GO ONE YEAR BACKWARDS TO COVER ALL NEW BORNS. LIKE THAT GOVERNMENT COVER UPTO 10 YEARS OR MAY BE 20 YEARS. IN THIS WAY FUTURE GENERATION AT LEAST WILL HAVE DEFINITE NATIONAL IDs.
OLDER GENERATIONS HAVE ALREADY HAVE SO MANY ID CARDS, PAN , RATION CARDS, PASSPORT, etc....etc.

mak

8 years ago

Government should immediately stop the expensive ID issuing exercise. What is the hurry in such important project. and it should be so expensive... nobody understand. This work should be given to the offices where the Birth Certificates are issued. GOVERNMENT CAN START ISSUING IDs TO ONLY NEW BORN BABIES NOW ONWARDS. AND MAKE SURE THERE IS ONLY ONE ID PER PERSON. THIS WILL SAVE A LOT OF PUBLIC MONEY.
ONCE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS GOVERNMENT CAN GO ONE YEAR BACKWARDS TO COVER ALL NEW BORNS. LIKE THAT GOVERNMENT COVER UPTO 10 YEARS OR MAY BE 20 YEARS. IN THIS WAY FUTURE GENERATION AT LEAST WILL HAVE DEFINITE NATIONAL IDs.
OLDER GENERATIONS HAVE ALREADY HAVE SO MANY ID CARDS, PAN , RATION CARDS, PASSPORT, etc....etc.

MAK

8 years ago

GOVERNMENT CAN START ISSUING IDs TO ONLY NEW BORN BABIES NOW ONWARDS. AND MAKE SURE THERE IS ONLY ONE ID PER PERSON. THIS WILL SAVE A LOT OF PUBLIC MONEY.
ONCE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS GOVERNMENT CAN GO ONE YEAR BACKWARDS TO COVER ALL NEW BORNS. LIKE THAT GOVERNMENT COVER UPTO 10 YEARS OR MAY BE 20 YEARS. IN THIS WAY FUTURE GENERATION AT LEAST WILL HAVE DEFINITE NATIONAL IDs.
OLDER GENERATIONS HAVE ALREADY HAVE SO MANY ID CARDS, PAN , RATION CARDS, PASSPORT, etc....etc.

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