Recently, Bill Gates praised India’s famous Aadhaar card initiative, pioneered by Narendra Modi. He also stated that his foundation will fund the World Bank in an attempt to replicate it across other countries.
His comment on aadhaar card got me thinking how well do we Indians know about it? Besides linking most of our personal and professional accounts with aadhaar card as a verification document, do we know anything more?
Let’s understand precisely what aadhar card is and what makes it so great:
We all know that-
Aadhaar card is a 12 digit unique identification code issued by the Indian Government (UIDAI) to its citizens. These 12 digits encode (or comprise) the demographic and biometric details of the holder. Currently, it is mandatory to link your Aadhar card number for filing your Income Tax Returns or while applying for a Permanent Account Number (PAN).
What we don’t know is-
- It is the first initiative by any government to provide a digital and an online ID free of cost to its citizen. It aims at ensuring better and transparent service deliveries in future.
- An additional layer of security is added by linking the demographic details like the name, age, gender, email ID, cell phone number with the biometric details of the holder which includes fingerprints of all 10 fingers, a scan of both the irises and a facial photograph. This is done to restrict identity theft of the card for any prerogatives.
- Aadhaar is a part of Modi’s Digital India Initiative. After demonetization, aadhaar card has been made obligatory to be linked to every bank account. This is done to ensure minimal to no disparities while recording Income Tax Returns. It also aims at identifying the financially backward segments of the society and ensure fairness and meritorious opportunities for their betterment.
- Understanding the urbanization and migration figures surging within the country, aadhar has been made portable and can be verified online in any corner of the country.
- Did you know your aadhar card number is a random number? Yes, there is no scientific algorithm devised in allotting the aadhaar number. This makes it difficult to predict anyone’s number and misuse it.
- Aadhar card system is scalable in nature. The data of the holder is saved centrally and can be accessed online from anywhere in the world. The servers are powerful enough to take up to 10M authentication requests a day.
- Aadhar card is built on Open Source Technologies. This dismisses it from being dependant on any particular hardware, database providers, software providers, etc. The system is -compatible with most devices and is scalable in nature due to this.
- Up till now, 1.2 billion aadhar card numbers have been allotted which is equivalent to 16% of total world’s population (since India is unquestionably an extremely populated country).
- Recently to add another layer of security, UIDAI has released a new feature called as ‘Virtual ID’. This virtual ID is a temporary 16 digit ID associated with the holder’s Aadhar card. A holder can generate this ID (as many times as required) by visiting the UIDAI website online. He/She can then go ahead and share this ID in place of their actual Aadhar card number with the tele-callers or any other place wherever required. There is no way to extract holder’s Aadhar card number using this virtual ID.
Now that we know how useful and safe aadhar card is, we should ensure that along with us, everyone around eligible for it has one. Since a lot of people are not technically equipped, we should help them in ways possible to avail the benefits of provided services. Let’s do our bit in ensuring that the dream of corruption free and transparent India becomes a reality sooner than expected.
By: Trusha Gagnani