Concern over Aadhaar

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

Recently, Moody’s Investors Service raised concerns about India’s Aadhaar program.

More about the news

  • Recognizes Aadhaar as the world’s largest digital ID program, serving over 1.2 billion Indian residents. Highlights Aadhaar and a crypto-based digital identity token called Worldline for their scale and innovation.
  • However, notes that Aadhaar often leads to “service denials.”
  • Highlights security and privacy vulnerabilities in centralized identification systems.
  • Points out the unreliability of biometric technologies, particularly in hot and humid conditions.
  • Moody’s recommends Decentralized ID (DID) systems, such as digital wallets based on blockchain technology.
  • ID systems offer users greater control over their private data and can reduce online fraud.
  • Cites successful DID programs in Catalonia, Azerbaijan, and Estonia using blockchain-based systems for digital identities.
  • However, Moody’s acknowledges challenges with decentralized IDs, including potential negative social repercussions.
  • Warns about the strengthening of group identities and political divides, especially when offered by influential tech and social media companies.

·       Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to every individual resident of India.

·       It serves as proof of identity, which is linked to the individual’s biometric and demographic information.

·       The Aadhaar programme was launched in 2009 by the UIDAI with the goal of providing a unique and verifiable identity for every resident of India.

·       It is now mandatory for a number of government services and is also being used by private companies for identification purposes.

·       More than 133 Crore Aadhaars have been issued as of April 2022. 99.9% of adults in India have an Aadhaar card. Since its inception Aadhaar Card has helped bridge the digital divide and helped in the smooth roll-out of various government direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes.

·       Verification methods include fingerprint and iris scans, as well as One-Time Passcodes (OTPs).

·       Faces challenges in establishing authorization and concerns about biometric reliability.

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