Aadhaar authentication is a process designed to verify your Aadhaar number and the information associated with it such as your demographic and biometric details. UIDAI’s Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) checks whether the data submitted matches with the data available with the CIDR or not. The response to the Aadhar authentication is returned either in a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ To protect an individual’s information, no personal detail of an individual is retuned as part of the response.
The Aadhaar authentication is launched with an aim to make identity verification easier and more accurate. It will not just benefit the service providers but also the residents of India as only those who deserve will get the subsidies, consumer services and other entitled benefits.
Why is it Required?
There are several public as well as private bodies and service providers that offer services, subsidies, schemes and other benefits to the residents of India. To ensure that the applicant deserves the service or benefit, the service providers or entities ask the applicants to submit the proofs of their identity. The service providers collect these proofs but face great challenges in verifying and validating the information given in the submitted documents. The Aadhaar authentication gives the service providers some respite from this problem. This online identity platform makes the identity authentication process simple by allowing the service providers to verify and authenticate the identity of the people who have applied for the consumer services, subsidies, benefits, or business functions. It is an easy process, which helps the service providers to instantly verify an applicant’s identity anytime and anywhere before providing them the benefits. Currently, the Aadhaar-based authentication services can be used only by the requesting government, public and private entities or agencies.
When is Aadhaar Authentication Required?
In the near future, many of the service providers are expected to link Aadhaar authentication to their services. Once these services are linked, people will need to submit the proofs of their identities to avail the Aadhaar-linked services, subsidies and other benefits. When you are required to authenticate depends on the service provider. It may be required at the time of taking the service or at the time of service delivery.
How does Aadhaar Authentication work?
UIDAI offers the Aadhaar authentication services only to those who request for it. In the authentication process, a requesting entity will electronically send an authentication request to an authority. The authority matches the information of an individual submitted against the information that is available with the CIDR. If the information matches, the response goes as ‘yes’ else ‘no.’ To protect the information of people, no personal information of that individual is given out in the response.
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- The authority will entertain the request only if the request abides by the regulations and conforms to the details listed by the authority.
- An individual’s Aadhaar number or the Aadhaar authentication carried out against his/her name is not and should not be treated as a proof of his/her citizenship or domicile.
What are the Modes of Aadhaar Authentication?
The authentication may be carried out through the following modes:
Demographic Authentication – Details such as your name, address, gender, and date of birth are categorised as the demographic information. When applying for the Aadhaar card, we are required to provide this information. When we get our Aadhaar card, it already has our demographic information linked with the number. In demographic authentication, the demographic information linked with the Aadhaar number is matched with the information available in the CIDR.
OTP Based Authentication – OTP (One-time Pin/Password) is a password or pin number that is valid for a short period. It can be used only once for a login session or transaction over the internet. In OTP-based authentication, an individual will be able to verify and authenticate his identity to get the Aadhaar-linked services. The resident will request for an OTP through the service provider’s application and then will provide his Aadhaar number along with an OTP sent on his registered mobile number or email ID.
Biometric Based Authentication – In biometric-based authentication, an individual is uniquely identified by evaluating one or more of his distinguishing biological traits. These distinguishing biological traits can be their fingerprints, voice waves, DNA, or retina and iris patterns. For Aadhaar authentication, the service agencies and other entities use either the iris patterns or fingerprints of an individual to authenticate their identities. In this mode of authentication, the Aadhaar number along with the biometric information given by the individual is matched with the information stored with the CIDR.
- Multi-Factor Authentication – As the name suggests, the multi-factor authentication uses a combination of two or more of the modes of authentication. The entity requesting for multi-factor authentication may choose any combination of any of the modes of authentication that suits them.
What are its Benefits of Aadhaar Authentication?
Your Aadhaar number contains your demographic as well as biometric information. This feature of the Aadhaar card is helping various public and private service providers and entities to conduct the Aadhaar authentication process. The process not only offers high-level of security but also other benefits. A few of them are listed as follows:
- Reduces the Stack of Documents
In India, we have about four to five proofs of identity such as PAN card, passport and driving license. Since different proofs of identity are dispersed by different governing bodies, it can be complex for both public and private service providers and other concerned entities to authenticate an individual’s information on the basis of the different types of proofs of identity. With Aadhaar authentication, the residents only need to provide their Aadhaar numbers to the service providers to authenticate their identities, thus, reducing the stack of different types of proof of identity.
- Simplifies the Authentication Process
Different types of proof of identity are issued by different governing bodies. Verifying information given in different types of proof of identity from their corresponding governing bodies can be quite a complex process. With Aadhaar, this process simplifies as then you need to contact only to a single governing body, CIDR, to verify a person’s identity. Since your Aadhaar number contains your demographic as well as biometric information, the authentication process will be quicker than the offline verification methods.
- Identifies the Deserving Residents
As mentioned earlier, the one of the main purposes of the Aadhaar authentication is to identify the deserving residents. By using the Aadhaar authentication, the service provider and other concerned entities can verify and ensure that the resident claiming the benefit or services is entitled for it. This will reduce fraudulent activities, save government’s resources and ensure that the benefits are given to only those who deserve them.
- Authenticates Online Transactions
Besides authenticating for services and subsidies, the Aadhaar authentication is also useful to authenticate financial transactions. Through Unified Payment Interface (UPI) based mobile applications, the service providers can verify and authenticate an individual’s online financial transaction. In Dec 2016, the government had released the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) mobile application that uses Aadhar authentication process to validate transactions and payments among individuals and merchants.
- Allows Selective Access to an Area
In any country, security is one of the biggest concerns. To ensure high level of security in high-security places such as airports and banks, the authorities can use the Aadhaar authentication. Through Aadhar authentication, the concerned authorities can control people’s access to the highly secured areas. Individuals only after authentication can be granted entry to the restricted areas.
CIDR is capable and efficient enough to handle billions of authentications every day. The scalability of the authentication service is also flexible. Considering its wide assortment of advanced features, speed, secure methods, accuracy and reliability, Aadhaar is undoubtedly one of the most efficient ways to authenticate an individual’s identity. The government has identified a few areas where the Aadhaar authentication can be implemented; however, it is exploring other potential areas too.
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