1. Introduction
  2. Launch
  3. Committee
  4. Features
  5. Benefits
  6. Status
  7. MOUs and other Deals
  8. How to Apply
  9. Concerns
  10. Issues with the UID
  11. Technology
  12. Links:

1. Introduction

Aadhaar scheme, formerly known as Unique Identification Scheme is a project being carried out by the Unique Identification Authority of India to create, operate and maintain a unique Identification Database. It aims to provide every Indian a 12-digit unique Identification number, much like the PAN card but stronger. The project was started in February 2009, and first such numbers were distributed in September 2010 at Tembhli village (Maharashtra).

2. Launch

The project was launched in February 2009 with first numbers distributed on 29th September 2010 to the residents of Tembhli village,in Shahada,Nandurbar, Maharashtra. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, and UPA chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi. RajanaSonawale became the first Indian to recieve this number.

3. Committee

NandanNilekani, former vice-chairman of Infosys was appointed the first chairman of Aadhaar committee in June 2009.Ram Shewak Sharma, IAS officer in Jharkhand Government and an awardee of Prime Minister's excellence in public administration award,is the Director General and Mission Director of the UID Authority. Sanjay Jain is the current chief product manager for the project.

4. Features

Much like the social security number, the Aadhaar number will be a 12-digit unique number for every citizen and will be linked to demographic and biometric information of an individual like photograph, fingerprints and iris. It is supposed to weed out duplicates and false entries from government databases in an efficient and cost effective way. One such pilot project has been carried out in Mysore where state-owned oil marketing companies aimed to get rid of the issue of multiple connections to the same person.

Main features of Aadhaar include:

  • Universality: It is supposed to be recognized and accepted throughout the nation and over time agencies will build their applications using this.
  • Accessibilty: Every resident would have an entitlement to this number. This will also be carried out by partnering with registrars and other local government bodies.
  • Identity Proof: Underprivileged citizens can now avail hassle free services in banking, gas connection etc with Aadhaar's help. Its uniqueness will bring greater trust between public and private agencies and residents. Thus, eliminating the need for regular KYC.

Aadhaar can be used in the delivery of the following programs:

  • Food & Nutrition – Public Distribution System, Food Security, Mid Day Meals, Integrated Child Development Scheme.
  • Employment – Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Swarnajayanti Gram SwarozgarYojana, Indira AwaazYojana, Prime Minister's Employment Guarantee Program
  • Education – SarvaShikhshaAbhiyaan, Right to Education
  • Inclusion & Social Security – JananiSurakshaYojana, Development of Primitive Tribe Groups, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme
  • Healthcare – RashtriyaSwasthyaBimaYojana, JanashriBimaYojana, AamAadmiBimaYojana
  • Other miscellaneous purposes including Property Transactions, VoterID, PAN Card etc.

5. Benefits

  • One Aadhaar-One beneficiary: Aadhaar is a unique number, and no resident can have a duplicate number since it is linked to their individual biometrics; thereby identifying fake and ghost identities which result in leakages today. Savings from eliminating duplicates and fakes through Aadhaar-based identification will further enable governments to expand benefits to other eligible residents
  • Portability: Aadhaar is a universal number, and agencies and services can contact the central Unique Identification database from anywhere in the country to confirm a beneficiary's identity.
  • Inclusion of those without any existing identity documents: A problem in reaching benefits to poor and marginalized residents is that they often lack the identification documents they need to receive State benefits; the ‘Introducer' system which has been approved for data verification for the UIDAI will enable such residents to establish an identity.
  • Electronic benefit transfers: The UID-enabled-Bank-Account network will offer a secure and low cost platform to directly remit benefits to residents without the heavy costs associated today with benefit distribution; the leakages in the current system will also be stemmed as a result.
  • Aadhaar-based authentication to confirm entitlement delivered to the beneficiary: the UIDAI will offer online authentication services for agencies who wish to validate a resident's identity; this service will enable confirmation of the entitlement actually reaching the intended beneficiary.
  • Improved services through increased transparency: Clear accountability and transparent monitoring would significantly improve access and quality of entitlements to beneficiaries and the agency alike
  • Self-service puts residents in control: Using Aadhaar as an authentication mechanism, residents should be able to access up-to-date information about their entitlements, demand services and redress their grievances directly from their mobile phone, kiosks or other means. In the case of self-service on the resident's mobile, security is assured using two-factor authentication (i.e. by proving possession of the resident's registered Mobile Number and knowledge of the resident's Aadhaar PIN). These standards are compliant with the Reserve Bank of India's approved standards for Mobile Banking and Payments

6. Status

The project is currently handling over 10 lakh enrolments per day. No public portalIs available for getting statistics. UIDAI targets to issue 600 million numbers by 2014. The estimated cost for this is 3170.31 crores spread over 5 years. An amount of Rs. 268.40 crores were spent for the financial year 2010-2011. At present, an amount of Rs. 19.45 crores(approx) have been spent till date for the current financial year 2011-12.

7. MOUs and other Deals

UIDAI has signed several MoUs with State Governments, banks and other Government bodies to ensure delivery to citizens.This has led to decisions like providing school children with Aadhaar. Other significant MoUs are signed with Ministry of petroleum and Natural gas, Ministry of HR, LIC, NPCL, IGNOU etc. In telecom, an API will be provided to use addhar for verification of users. The complete list of the MoUs can be found at


8. How to Apply

  1. The enrolment for Aadhaar is free and is a one-time affair since one gets one Aadhaar number only.
  2. One has to go to an enrolment center with an identity card and address proof.
  3. 18 documents are accepted as Proof of Identity documents and 33 documents are accepted as Proof of address documents.
  4. In case one does not have common proofs, Certificate of Identify having photo issued by Gazetted Officer/Tehsildar on letterhead is also accepted as PoI. Certificate of Address having photo issued by MP or MLA /Gazetted Officer/Tehsildar on letterhead or by Village Panchayat head or its equivalent authority (for rural areas) is accepted as valid PoA.
  5. If one does not have individual documents one can still enroll if his / her name exists in the family entitlement document. In such a scenario, the Head of the Family needs to be enrolled first with a valid PoI and PoA document
  6. The head of the family then can introduce the other members while enrolling. UIDAI accepts eight document types as proof of relationship
  7. When there are no documents available, the resident may also take the help of the introducers available at the enrolment center, the introducers are notified by the registrar
  8. The personal details are filled at the enrolment center and photo, finger and iris scans are taken at the time of enrolment. The details provided can be reviewed and the corrections can be made at the time of enrolment itself. The applicant will get an acknowledgement slip with a temporary enrolment number and other details captured during enrolment.
  9. Based on the information provided, the details are verified centrally and if the application is successful an Aadhaar number will be generated and mailed to the address
  10. The waiting time for Aadhaar may vary from 60-90 days after receipt of resident data packets in CIDR. However, it could take even longer in case enrolment is done through NPR exercise. After enrolment, quality checks are done by the enrolment centre supervisors, followed by correction process (where required) and data packet consolidation. Subsequently, the Enrolment Agency sends the data to UIDAI data centre. The data undergoes various stages of screening and validations in CIDR. This ensures that the source of data is authenticated besides ensuring that no duplicate exists. Sample Quality checks are done on demographic and biometric data collected from residents. Apart from that the
  11. Operator/Supervisor/Introducer/Enrolment Agency and Registrar information in each packet is also validated. Only after passing the data quality checks and other validations, the packet goes for de-duplication and Aadhaar gets generated.
  12. In case of any errors, the packet goes on hold. For example if the particulars of the Operator who enrolled the resident are found to be inconsistent with database or there is a mismatch observed in photo and age/gender (ex. a child's photo with age mentioned as 50 yrs), then the packet is held for further enquiry. Corrective actions are taken on such packets, wherever possible, else a rejection letter guiding resident to re-enroll is dispatched to the resident. India Post is entrusted with the responsibility of printing and delivery of Aadhaar letters. Depending on backlog for generation, location of delivery etc. India Post may ordinarily take 3-5 weeks to print and deliver Aadhaar letters to the residents.
  13. In the case of Aadhaar enrolments through NPR exercise, the method of verification is the RGI approved LRUR(Local Register of Usual Residents) verification process. The Aadhaar number will be issued only after completion of the LRUR process which could take much longer than the time prescribed above. Residents can verify the name of their Registrar at the enrolment centres or on the acknowledgement provided to them at the time of enrolment. In case it is Registrar General of India(RGI), please contact office of RGI for further details.

The following flowchart shows the process to apply for UID.


  • Aadhaar is dependent on biometrics being reliable enough to guarantee a one to one mapping between the real people and electronic identities on the central ID repository. However countries around the world are relying less and less on biometrics for storing identities digitally using biometrics. According to academicians tests cannot be used to predict how biometrics will fare in the real world
  • UIDAI is using data collected by the Census authorities to prepare the National Population Register for creating the UIDs. The NPR is not an exclusive database of Indian Citizens. It contains data on all residents of the country including foreigners. Therefore, issuing UIDs based on the data in the NPR might help illegal migrants get these IDs and would allow them access the government services and programs
  • UIDAI may also face operational challenges. For instance, updating of the current demographic information, change of residence or marital status, by existing Aadhaar holders, promptly and securely may be challenging
  • Backup mechanism and recovery time objectives of Aadhaar project database in case of natural/technical failure may prove a challenge considering the scale of the project
  • There are concerns over privacy violations as registrars include non-government agencies
  • The UIDAI till now does not have the Parliament's approval

Issues with the UIDAI Bill

  • The Bill does not make it mandatory for an individual to enroll with the NIAI. However, it does not prevent any service provider from prescribing Aadhaar as a mandatory requirement for availing services.
  • The information collected by NIAI may be shared with agencies engaged in delivery of public benefits and services with prior written consent of the Aadhaar holder. The safeguards provided for preventing misuse of this information may be inadequate.
  • The Bill requires the NIAI to disclose identity information in the interest of national security, if so directed by an authorised officer. The safeguards for protection of privacy differ from the Supreme Court guidelines on telephone tapping.
  • The Bill states that no court shall take cognizance of any offence, except on a complaint made by the NIAI. This could result in a conflict of interest situation if the offence is committed by a member of the NIAI.
  • Details of demographic and biometric information to be recorded have been left to regulations. This empowers the NIAI to collect additional information without prior approval from Parliament.


Technology systems will have a major role across the UIDAI infrastructure. The Aadhaar database will be stored on a central server. Enrolment of the residents will be computerised, and information exchange between Registrars and the CIDR will take place over a network. Authentication of the residents will be online. The Authority will also put systems in place for the security and safety of information.

The Aadhaar Application

UIDAI will design, develop, and deploy the Aadhaar Application with the help of service providers. The application hosted by CIDR can be broadly categorised into core applications and supporting applications.

The core applications can be divided into

Enrolment Application:
The Enrolment Application serves the client enrolment request for providing an Aadhaar. The application orchestrates the enrolment workflow by integrating various sub-systems such as address normalisation, third party de-duplication, and Aadhaar generation. Manual exception workflow is required to resolve enrolment requests that cannot be resolved automatically. Basic letter printing and delivery functionality is available for servicing exceptions to normal workflow.

Authentication Application:
The Authentication Application provides the identity authentication services. Various authentication request types such as demographic, biometric, simple or advanced authentications are supported by this application. The Aadhaar submitted is used for 1:1 match for the resident's record. The inputs are then matched against the resident information found in the biometric database.

The supporting category can be divided into

Administrative Application:
The Administrative Application takes care of user management, roles and access control, business process automation, and status reporting. It ensures a trust network across both internal and external entities. The external entities could be Registrars, Sub-Registrars, Enrolment Agencies, Field Agencies, Introducers and Authentication clients. The internal entities could be system administrators, customer service agents or biometric and fraud detection agents. The application will allow administrators to track status of other applications, and provide mechanism to escalate failures or delays.

Fraud Detection Application:
The Fraud Detection Application is deployed to detect and reduce identity fraud. For example, identifying fraud scenarios that the application needs to handle are: misrepresentation of information, multiple registrations by same resident, registration for non-existent residents, or personification as someone else.

Analytics and Reporting Application:
The Analytics and Reporting Application provides enrolment and authentication statistics for both public and partners. It supports visual representation of statistics and allows drill down at regional levels. All the information available for this application is only at the aggregate level thus, ensuring individual identity is completely protected.

Information Portal:
The Information Portal provides administrative and information access for internal users, partners and public.

Contact Center Information Application:
The Contact Centre Interface application provides query and status update functionality.

Logistics Interface Application:
The Logistics Interface Application interfaces with the logistics provider for letter printing and delivery. It is used for sending and receiving raw data, sending Aadhaar data for letter printing, delivering and receiving periodic status updates on the inbound and outbound communication.

The following diagram shows the linkages between various systems.

The Biometric Solution

The Biometric Solution Provider (BSP) will design, supply, install, configure, commission, maintain and support biometric components of the UIDAI System. The biometric components are:

  1. Automated Biometric Identification Subsystem (ABIS): ABIS will be used in the Enrolment Server as a part of the multi-modal biometric de-duplication solution. In the early release, ABIS will also be used in the Authentication Server for verification. The ABIS will maintain its own database of proprietary fingerprint and iris image templates for de-duplication (and face templates at the discretion of the vendor), and must be able to respond to verification requests accompanied by fingerprint and/or iris images, as well as ISO/IEC 19794-2:2005 format fingerprint minutiae files. Vendors will work with UIDAI to provide further specification within ISO/IEC 19794-2:2005 to promote interoperability with future verification clients.
  2. Multimodal Software Development Kit (SDKs): SDKs will be used in the enrolment client, manual check (for duplicates), authentication server (for later releases) and the analytics module. The SDK may contain signal detection, quality analysis, image selection, image fusion, segmentation, image pre-processing, feature extraction and comparison score generation for fingerprint, iris and face modalities.

The biometric solution components used in the UIDAI system are:

  • Multi-modal de-duplication in the enrolment server
  • Verification subsystem within the authentication server
  • Enrolment client
  • Manual checks and exception handling
  • Biometric sub-system monitoring and analysis

  1. Multimodal Biometric de-duplication in the Enrolment Server
    The UID enrolment server will utilize
    1. Multi-modal de-duplication. Multiple modalities such as– fingerprint and iris image will be used for de-duplication. Face photograph is provided if the vendor desires to use it for de-duplication. While certain demographical information is also provided, UIDAI provides no assurance of its accuracy. Demographic information shall not be used for filtering during the de-duplication process, but this capability shall be preserved for potential implementation in later phases of the UIDAI program. Each multi-modal de-duplication request will contain an indexing number (Reference ID) in addition to the multi-modal biometric and demographic data. In the event of one or more duplicate enrolments are found, the ABIS will pass back the Reference ID of the duplicates and the scaled comparison scores upon which the duplicate finding was based. The scaled fusion score returned with each duplicate found will have a range of [0, 100], with 0 indicating the least level of similarity and 100 as the highest level of similarity.
    2. Multi-vendor
      The complete multi-modal solutions from more than one vendor will be used. The Aadhaar Application will determine routing of a particular de-duplication request. It may determine to route a particular de-duplication request to more than one biometric solution. If it routes a de-duplication request to more than one solution, it is responsible for determining the final outcome of the de-duplication request. The UIDAI ABIS API specifies the interaction between UIDAI Application and ABIS.

    The middleware included in the UIDAI application (being developed by ASDMSA) is meant to provide vendor independence and standardisation. The key features of the middleware are:

    • Routingand mediation
    • Guaranteed delivery
    • Fault tolerance and load balancing
    • Open standard based messaging (AMQP) using open source Rabbit MQ
    • Transparent connectivity to analysis and system monitoring modules of UIDAI applications
    • Support of Web 2.0 based UIDAI ABIS API and CBEFF data format standard
    • Encapsulation and isolation of ABIS components

  2. Verification Subsystem of Authentication Server
    In the first release of the UIDAI server, the biometric verification module, provides verification within the authentication server. The solution should be capable of 1:1 verification comparisons of enrolled references with incoming ISO/IEC 19794-2-compliant fingerprint, iris or face images or ISO/IEC 19794-2 compliant fingerprint minutiae sets without proprietary extended data.
    For the purpose of distributed authentication by UIDAI at a later stage, the biometric verification module may be constructed using SDK. While the functionality of the verification subsystem will not change, the internal architecture may change. The templates will be maintained in memory resident database by the UIDAI authentication server application (not in scope of BSP). If the incoming requests contain a biometric image, the authentication server will use SDK to extract the feature. SDK will also be used to generate comparison score of the sample. The decision for distributed authentication will rest with UIDAI and will be binding on the BSP.

The Partner Portal

The Partner Portal will cater to the needs of the partner community providing them with overall statistics that involve them and allow them to track individual cases.

They will be able to track

  • Administration and user management – creation / deletion of the user records
  • Aggregate pre-enrolment statistics – number, latency, validation issues. (for Registrars, Sub-Registrars, and Enrolment Agencies)
  • Aggregate enrolment statistics – number, latency, approvals, rejection reasons (for Registrars, Sub- Registrars, and Enrolment Agencies)
  • Aggregate authentication statistics – number, latency, success / failures (for authentication clients)
  • Track individual resident information – pre-enrolment, enrolment, and authentication – that they are involved in

The Public Portal

Apart from grievance redressal that will be integrated into the portal, it will provide all users with information about the UIDAI system, and allow them to drill down on the performance by region etc. It will not allow users to drill down individual cases.

All users will be able to view the following:

  • List of Registrars, Enrolment Agencies, etc.
  • Number of UIDs issued by time (day, month, year), and region (country, state, district, city)
  • Performance Metrics – At an aggregate level – the number of Registrars, latency to allocate UIDAIs, number of complaints, etc.
  • Authentication requests – count, latency, success /failures
  • Grievance requests filed with the UIDAI and the responses

The Data Portal

All publishable public information will be exposed in machine readable formats in this portal. Third party developers can develop Web 2.0 applications based on this data.

The Registrar System

Registrars will have their own IT infrastructure to interact with Aadhaar System. The functionalities include the following:

  • Getting updates during enrolment process
  • Uploading bulk demographic data
  • Act as an Authentication User Agency (AUA)

The Logistics Service Provider

Logistics service will be provided by Department of Posts. There are two parts to this:

  • Inbound Logistics – to receive the raw enrolment images + data in magnetic media and through the network from the Regional Offices or Facilitation Centre. All the incoming data is processed by the CIDR DMZ Application.
  • Outbound Logistics – Delivering the UIDAI to applicants and getting the Status Update

Responsibilities of Logistic Service Provider includes the following:

  • Logistics setup for enrolment agencies to send the enrolment data/manifest to the RO/data centre
  • Provide printing infrastructure and connectivity to the CIDR. The printing infrastructure electronically receives the Aadhaar allocation letter to be printed and mailed to the enrolled residents
  • Mail the printed Aadhaar letter to the enrolled resident
  • Provide an online track and trace system to track the status of the enrolments and Aadhaar generation
  • Support the call centre provider to track the enrolment status

The CIDR and the Logistics Provider Interactions are shown in this diagram.

The Authentication User Agency

The Contact Center

The Contact Centre provides a central point of contact to residents and other entities that will partner with UIDAI during the enrolment and post enrolment stages. The Contact Centre will provide services in multiple languages for residents, Registrars, enrolment agencies and resident service agencies. The service provider for Contact Centre will setup, operate and maintain the Contact Centre including the agents. The service provider for Contact Centre will be expected to:

The RFP for Contact Centre contains the detailed requirements for Contact Centre. Please refer to this document from UIDAI website. UIDAI has selected Intellinet as the service provider for setting up and operating the Contact Centre. The Contact Centre Architecture diagram is shown below: