What’s in the news?
- Recently, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audit reports indicate there are issues of data-matching, errors in authentication, and shortfall in archiving on the functioning of the UIDAI.
- UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) is the statutory authority established in 2016 to issue Aadhaar to all residents of the country. As of October 31, 2021, UIDAI had issued 131.68 crore Aadhaar numbers.
Problems with UIDAI that have been identified by the CAG
- The CAG has said the data of Aadhaar card holders have not been matched with their Aadhaar number even after 10 years in some cases.
- It has also criticized the absence of a system to analyze the factors leading to authentication errors, and said that even though UIDAI was maintaining one of the largest biometric databases in the world, it did not have a data archiving policy, which is considered a vital storage management best practice.
- The CAG report noted that UIDAI provided Authentication services to banks, mobile operators and other agencies free of charge till March 2019, contrary to the provisions of their own Regulations, depriving revenue to the Government.
- The report also noted that the Authority had not ensured security and safety of data in Aadhaar vaults. They had not independently conducted any verification of compliance to the process involved.
- In the conclusion of its report, the CAG has said that UIDAI generated Aadhaar numbers with incomplete information, which, along with the lack of proper documentation or poor quality biometrics, have resulted in multiple or duplicate Aadhaar cards being issued to the same person.
- The CAG report recommended that The UIDAI should go beyond self-declaration, and prescribe a procedure and required documentation other than self-declaration, in order to confirm and authenticate the residence status of applicants.