What is UID?

A Unique Identification is merely a string assigned to an entity that identifies the entity uniquely.The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) plans to assign a Unique ID to every person residing in India. Biome-tric identification system and checks would be used to ensure that each individual is as-signed one and only UID and the process of generating a new UID would ensure that duplicates are not issued as valid UID numbers.


The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been created, with the mandate of providing a unique identity to all Indian residents. The UIDAI has published an approach to pursuing this mandate, and plans to use biometrics to eliminate duplicates and ensure uniqueness at enrolment.Â

The AADHAR system is being designed to eventually service the entire population of India, and will involve the biometric identification of 1.2 billion residents. Since the estimated database size (1.2 Billion residents) is an order of magnitude larger than the current largest biometric database (115 Million), the biometric subsystem will have to be constantly monitored for accuracy, scalability and performance. To de-risk the entire program, the system will operate multiple concurrent solutions with the ability to introduce and test newer solutions.

Each Automated Biometric Identification Subsystem (ABIS) must implement an interface that is compliant with this specification. That de-couples the biometric subsystem from the main application logic, and enables a management layer that can orchestrate across the multiple solution providers, continuously measure accuracy, performance and enable better decision making. Initially, the same interface will be used for enrolment and authentication. At a later time, authentication may be moved out to a separate sub-system for better scaling, and replication. More generally, as the UID database grows in size, the requirements of the biometric system may evolve, and implementers of this interface will have to keep up with them.

Who is heading UIDAI?

Nandan Nilekani is currently the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI),which aims to provide a unique identification number for all residents of India in the rank and status of a Cabinet minister.

Nandan Nilekani was most recently the co-chairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies Limited, which he co-founded in 1981. Serving as director on the company’s board since its inception to July 2009, he has held various posts at Infosys, including chief executive officer and managing director, president, and chief operating officer.

Nilekani co-founded India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) as well as the Bangalore chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE). He is a member of the board of governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and the president of NCAER (the premier, independent, applied economics research institute in India).

Born in Bangalore, Nilekani received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He was named the Corporate Citizen of the Year at the Asia Business Leaders Award (2004) organized by CNBC. In 2005 he received the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences and politics.

He was awarded one of India's highest civilian honours, the Padma Bhushan, in 2006. In 2006 he was also named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia. Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006 and 2009.

What is the process that will be followed to issue a UID number?

A resident will have to go to an enrolling agency, fill up an application form and provide the supporting documentation including photo and finger print including photo, all tenfingerprints and both irs scan.

The enrolling agency will collect this information and send the data, either singly or in batches, to the registrar who will pass this on to the UID database.

The system will engage in a de-duplication exercise.

If the individual is not already in the database, a UID number will be issued and sent to the person at their residence. The UID number will also be sent to the Registrar for use in their service database.

If the individual is already in the database the registration will be rejected and the person will be informed of the same.

The registrar will scan the supporting documentation and send it to the UIDAI and keep the physical copies with themselves.

What is the verification process that will be followed by the enrolling agency before processing the documents for a UID number?

A Demographic Data fields standards and verification procedure Committee under Mr.Vittal, ex CVC has submitted its report with respect to the verificaton procedure. The document is available on the website in the Documents section.

Will there be a card issued? How will the resident know what their number is?

No card will be issued by the UIDAI, but the resident will receive a letter from the UID authority giving the person the UID number and the information of the person that was collected. If there are any inaccuracies in the information, the person can correct them. There will be a tear away portion in the letter that can act as a card for referencing the number. The registrar may issue a card for their purpose in which they may include the UID number.

Why no card?

The UIDAI is focused on the identity of the person and not the identity document. The best match is the individuals biometric and a card cannot be a substitute. The UID can only establish unique identity if authentication is done against the central database. Further, cards can be forged, stolen, faked and identity process diluted. While the UID authority only guarantees online authentication, the service providers are free to issue cards to people if it serves their purpose.