The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) does not certify the identity, address, date of birth, residential status or existence of any individual or any Aadhaar number, the UIDAI said in response to an RTI query. It also admitted that the biometric data of an individual does not pull up a unique record, thereby raising a question mark on its stated objective of providing a unique identity to all Indians.
The information was revealed by the UIDAI, which functions under the Ministry of Electronics and IT, in response to a series of queries posed by Anupam Saraph, an IT expert and social activist. Saraph had asked the names and designations of the UIDAI officials who certify the identity, address, date of birth etc. of an individual. The UIDAI reply said, “No such role is assigned to UIDAI officials”. The UIDAI had, in a previous RTI reply, said that it cannot identify anyone. The UIDAI had, in the reply, admitted that the biometric data of any individual do not pull up a unique record. This was seen as admission that the biometric data do not uniquely identify any person.
As per the RTI reply, the UIDAI has no idea about the identification documents used to assign an Aadhaar number to enrolment packets submitted by the enrolment agencies. This, according to the petitioner, has serious repercussions as far as the genuineness of the entire Aadhaar database is concerned.
In response to a previous RTI query, the UIDAI had admitted that the Aadhaar database or the process of reduplication had never been subject to verification or audit. Private agencies are paid for each enrolment packet they submit.
The revelations have come at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing more than 22 public interest litigations (PILs) challenging the use of Aadhaar. The Aadhaar is being used widely by government and private parties for identification of individuals. According to Saraph, the revelation has come as a shocker for processes which rely on the UIDAI identification. “The UIDAI has declined to share information about the enrolment operators and supervisors registered with the UIDAI. Only 20 registrars, eight state governments and 12 PSUs had hired enrolment agencies who in turn hired these operators,” he said. “The 20 registrars put together do not have a geographical reach to 707 districts, 600,000 villages and 5,000 towns and cities of India. With the information of enrolment operators being withheld, the entire enrolment process to create the world’s largest biometric database has come under question,” he claimed.