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Providing an identity to every Indian
Group 4 Ameya Tikekar Ashish Vijayvergiya Asif Shaikh Bhaskar Bateja Derrick Vijayan Nilesh Kadam PGP/014/004 PGP/014/017 PGP/014/018 PGP/014/019 PGP/014/024 PGP/014/040
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 3 UID project - Technological Architecture................................................................................................ 4 International Parallels ............................................................................................................................. 6 The Indian Scenario – Analyzing Adhaar for Benefits and Drawbacks ................................................... 7 UID – An Enabler ..................................................................................................................................... 9 Q&A ....................................................................................................................................................... 11
India is moving fast on the road of development. Transformation is evident – from villages to towns, towns to cities. But the urbanization comes at a cost. Issues related to security, healthcare, education etc. still persist. The condition of the poor is still remains despicable. Amidst all this, the concern for identity of an individual resident of the nation becomes very important. Proving the identity, presently, is one of the biggest barriers for the poor to avail the Govt. sponsored schemes. There are numerous identity options for the residents. Each option comes with its own verification process and hence the cost too. As a consequence, identity silos are being constructed and it becomes inconvenient for the residents and authorities both. In this context, the introduction of a unique and single identity number seems to have many benefits. The universal identity number may become transformational in eliminating fraud and better reach of services. Historical Background The concept of unique identity number was first discussed with the administrative approval of the “Unique ID for BPL families” project in 2006. “The strategic vision for UID” envisaged the integration of the UID project with the electoral database. It also laid forward the need of a UID authority under the Planning Commission of India. An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) was formed to test the synergies between the National Population Register and UID project. Finally, after the fourth EGoM meeting, the UIDAI was former in January 2009. Mr. Nandan Nilekani was brought in to head the UIDAI in July that year and laucnh project Adhaar. Implementation of UID Project UIDAI as a statutory body is responsible for creating, administering and enforcing the policy measures. UIDAI has standardized the demographic and biometric data it will collect from the residents. The Committee on Demographic Data Standards and Verification Procedures has decided the demographic parameters as: Name, Date of birth, Gender, Father's/ Husband's/ Guardian's name and UID (optional for adult residents), Mother's/ Wife's/ Guardian's name and UID (optional for adult residents), Introducer's name and UID ( in case of lack of documents) and Address. It has also specified the verification process. The Committee on Biometric Standards has decided to collect all ten fingerprints, two iris scans and photographs as biometric indicators. Structure of UID implementation CIDR: Central ID Repository This will be the central database of the demographic and biometric information and will also serve as the verification point when online verification process is used.
UID Partner Agencies These will be structured as Registrars, Sub Registrars and Enrolling agencies. Registrars will Govt. agencies like LIC or public banks which will take enrolment applications from Sub registrars and Enrolling agencies. Their main responsibility is to ensure and correct and clean data flows into the CIDR. Enrollment and Verification system
The enrollment process is as explained in the diagram here. There will be two kinds of verification: Online and Offline. Online verification would be done by sending the data to CIDR and getting the report. Offline verification would be done at the Registrar’s end by comparing data on the UID card with fresh biometric data taken during the time of verification. The comparative advantages and disadvantages are mentioned in the figure.
UID project - Technological Architecture
The key technology components of the UID system are: The UID Server : Provides the enrolment and the authentication service. Biometric System : It is likely that a multi-modal biometric solution will be used to achieve a high level of assurance authentication requests. The Enrolment client : Application will capture and validate demographic and biometric data. Network : UID services could work over secure WAN networks, the vanilla internet or over mobile SMS channels. Security Design : secures all the above components from logical/physical attack. Financing the UID project: UIDAI is funded by the federal government till the point it becomes a self-sustaining model in long-term. A conservative estimate of the cost to completely roll-out National IDs to all Indian residents above the age of 18 has been placed at 150,000 – 180,000 crore. UIDAI estimates the project will cost Rs 45,000 crore to the exchequer in the next four years. This does not include the costs that will be incurred by the registrars, enrollers, the internal systems costs that the PDS system will have to budget if it is to be able to use the UID, the estimated cost to the end user and to the number holder. A sum of 100 crore (US$ 21.7 million) was approved in the 2009-2010 union budget to fund the agency for its first year of existence. The project has been allocated Rs 1900 crore for 2010-11.
Case of USA US government faced a crisis in its health care department around early 1990 and proposed use of IT to solve it by making medical database of its citizens. US has dual citizenship; one at the national level and other at state level, which made things more complex. Major concern was raised about how US was going to protect the privacy of the information stored about its citizens. Aftermath: USA never implemented the National ID and still uses passport as the most legally accepted document. Case of National ID cards in UK This is a classic case of failure of National Cards. In 1995 the British government revived a proposal to issue multipurpose identity cards. It started a fight between the government and her citizens. The government marketed the benefits to the public of a National identity card for overseas travel, proof of age etc. Concerns were raised about: 1) Cost to the public exchequer 2) Potential breaches to privacy. Public private partnership was proposed to manage the implementation costs. Also data gathering was voluntary. Aftermath: National ID act was passed in 2006, by linking people to a national identity register with 50 specific information fields. Even in early stages leaked e-mails revealed that the program was facing difficulty. Maintaining it proved to be an ‘escalation of commitment’. The program needed high costs, an initial data collection cost of 12 billion £ and annual data security and maintenance costs of 584 million£. The lib-con coalition government formed in 2010 decided to scrap the program and mandate the destruction of all data by Feb 11 2011.
The Indian Scenario – Analyzing Adhaar for Benefits and Drawbacks
Adhaar will give identity to poor. It will bring Cost savings, Efficiencies and Accountability in the implementation of various government sponsored schemes and bring inclusion to multitudes of poor Indians. Some of the benefits of Adhaar are as follows: Financial Inclusion It will help Banks and other financial institutions in reducing their transaction costs down which will be an incentive for them to provide services to marginal population. Other benefits would be Customer acquisition cost eliminated, Rapid attainment of substantial scale, Online Aadhaar authentication, Enable creation of a low cost interoperable network, Facilitating 360° customer management, Increasing the utility of Credit Bureau, Facilitation of Government payment disbursal.
PDS True beneficiaries enjoy entitlements: Clear identification of beneficiaries, Ensuring inclusion of the poor, centralized, Aadhaar-enabled registration system- Ration card, enabling individual entitlements. Reduce Leakages: Ensuring zero proxy withdrawals, providing beneficiaries with portable entitlements, Aadhaar-based authentication across the supply chain. Monitoring: Accountability in food grain movement, FPS accountability, Beneficiary accountability, Community participation in monitoring, SMS alerts, Making information public
Education Identify children out of school education. Address leakage and Implementation problems - mid-day meals, books, scholarships, provision of uniforms and bicycles etc..No inflated achievements (SSA)NO multiple enrollments .Easy admission for children of migration labor. Better future planningSchools and teachers.
Health An integrated health system will provide information on various routine disease conditions and will help in improved response to unforeseen epidemics. provide an additional and fresh, unlikely to be duplicated source of registrations for the UID and (2) more importantly, in conjunction with linkages to a routine and health information system can improve public health in terms of efficiency and outcomes.
Though Adhaar can be a great enabler, however it is fraught with certain drawbacks as follows: Not enough substance, Just a PR exercise: Ability to prove identity is not a problem in rural areas-Caste, Exclusionary State Policy- Urban Areas, only guarantee identity, not rights, benefits, or entitlements. Not consultative: No public debate, UIDAI was ready with its approach and design document in less than three months (leaked1 in November 2009), Unilateralism : an MoU with the Ministry of Rural Development without consulting the Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC) , No inclusive engagement process, Proceedings of consultations not detailed and publicly accessible, Requests for open public meetings were summarily rejected Privacy and surveillance: Convergence, NPR- UID as the key, the profile of any person resident in India can be built up, Not a part of National security program of GoI , Dilution of RTI and accountability of public officials , UIDAI- Data protection not a responsibility Technology: Biometric as a technology is not stable and results have not been tested for project of this magnitude. Also fingerprints cannot be used as a proxy for biometric because of poor quality of fingerprints of farmers.
UID – An Enabler
In the light of all the facts, it can be concluded that the UID program has great potential to bring more transparency and accountability in the existing government schemes. Unique identity number will give a face to every Indian who has so far been victimized by the corrupt and bureaucratic procedures of policy implementation. However, as we have seen earlier, the implementation has not been completely foolproof. There are still loopholes that need to be plugged in order to obtain the best possible results. The following needs to be realized during the implementation of the UID program – UID is a mechanism for identification and authentication. The UID has neither a role to play in the implementation of any welfare schemes nor does it have a hand in policy and decision making. UID only has the onus of providing identity numbers to the applicants. These numbers in turn can be used by the implementation agencies of welfare schemes for authentication of identities of the beneficiaries. UID will bring about ease of monitoring by way of identifying the right beneficiaries. The level of accountability will be raised only when technology along with UID is used as an enabler. Identification of beneficiaries according to socio-economic status or any such criteria will have to be done by the implementation agencies of the welfare schemes. Recommendations Having said that, some of the measures to increase the effectiveness of the UID schemes could be as follows – Align existing welfare schemes to UID This could be done in a phased manner by selecting small schemes at first as a pilot. The learning from this could be used for major national schemes as NREGA and PDS Consultative approach of implementation Implementation of UID has been fraught with extreme secrecy and non-participatory approach of the UIDAI. The UIDAI needs to keep the opinions of the various stakeholders like the general public, government and non-government institutions that act as implementation agencies as well as the military and police department considering the effect it would have on all these. Also, the need of the hour is educating the masses about the benefits of UID and its integration with the welfare schemes so that the poor can reap the maximum benefits from it. Relaxed Timelines
A target of 60 crore in 4 years is quite ambitious considering the lack of technology and infrastructure in India. Pressure to achieve this target may result in compromise on the quality of data collected. Since the scheme is demand driven, relaxation of numbers seems plausible. Legal provisions for protection of individual privacy A new scheme such as UID will bring with it various issues of protection of privacy of individuals. The existing laws may be inadequate to handle the complications and exigencies that may arise out of UID. New laws will have to be enacted with heavy penalty on the misuse of data collected under UID. Legal provisions for data collection and convergence Legal provisions should be made to ensure that profiling of individuals is not possible with the data that is being collected. National security and UIDAI Data collection on each citizen of India will expose the nation as a whole to security threats internally as well as externally. Adequate measures should be taken to prevent technological threats like hacking, intrusion etc. Also, physical security of the data will also have to be maintained.
1) What alternatives UIDAI has to make up for the bad quality of biometric data gathered from the vulnerable farmers and poor workers with marred fingerprints and with corneal infections/cataract? Ans. Though UIDAI has not thought about any alternatives to make up for bad quality of biometric data arising from marred fingerprints/infected eyes of the most vulnerable sections, we can think of two possible alternatives in the long run: a) Digitised facial scan which had been used by UK since 2006 under its project for National Identity Register (NIR). b) DNA fingerprinting which can be a costly affair, but not beyond the reach of Indians considering that then Home Minister P. Chindambaram announced in November 2009 that the government would soon be setting up a DNA data bank to hold DNA data of convicts. With newer advancements and ever-plummeting cost of technology, DNA fingerprinting may become a viable alternative for other biometric data in case of UID. 2) What is the role of EGoM in the UID project? Ans. Earlier, the UID project came under an inter-ministerial council, where the decision-making process was slow. Mr. Nilekani wanted a single-window clearance for faster implementation of the project. Keeping this in mind, the government firmed up a plan to form an EGoM, whose decisions would be final. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then stepped in to head an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) that includes the Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, for cutting through the red tape encountered in the setting up of the Unique ID Scheme. 3) How would UIDAI ensure that UID is not issued to terrorists or alien immigrants? Ans. UIDAI registration process involves data collection from citizens of India through profile questionnaires and verification of documents, all done by trained field operators. Even if documents and answers to questionnaire can be faked, the biometric data cannot be faked easily and will serve as a permanent record with the GoI, something which no terrorist or alien immigrant will want as it will lead to them being tracked easily by the officials. 4) Why would the marginalized opt for UID when it is a voluntary exercise? What incentive do they have? Ans. As pointed out by Nandan Nilekani, UID will only act as an enabler and will not ensure social empowerment all by itself. Though UID is a voluntary exercise, the efficient disbursement of centrally-funded social schemes through UID will offer a plausible incentive to the vulnerable. Moreover, though UIDAI may make UID voluntary, the government registrars like banks/ NREGA/
SSA may mandate use of UIDs for the vulnerable to avail of CSS funds. UID is meant to plug the efficiency and leakage gaps in these CSS schemes. 5) What security measures has UIDAI taken to ensure privacy of data and avoid security breach of such sensitive information of citizens of India? Ans. UID, led by Nandan Nilekani, the ex-CEO of Infosys and other competent personnel from various departments will ensure complete safety of UID data from data security point of view. They have also established state-of-the-art disaster recovery mechanisms for the databases. However, where UID is lacking is on the statutory front. UID needs to carry out initial profiling of the citizens under the Census Act, 1948 and not under the Citizenship Act 2003 to ensure complete confidentiality of data and prevent misuse through data convergence.
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