October 3, 2016 -
Microsoft has presented various “case scenarios” to the Indian government on how Skype can be used for identity authentication using Aadhaar.
Aadhaar is the 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Indian government to every individual resident of India. The Aadhaar project aims to provide a single, unique identifier which captures all the demographic and biometric details of every Indian resident. Currently, Aadhaar has issued over 900 million Aadhaar numbers, and has enrolled approximately 850 million people, with a goal of ultimately enrolling 1.28 billion people.
The program, governed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), is currently used to authenticate delivery of social services including: school attendance, natural gas subsidies to India’s rural poor, and direct wage payments to bank accounts. The system also provides identification to people who do not have birth certificates.
According to several published reports, UIDAI is in talks with Microsoft for embedding the identification technology onto its mobile devices. Earlier this month, BiometricUpdate.com reported that Indian government officials invited executives from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to discuss the integration of Aadhaar with their various mobile technologies.
While Apple offered a negative response concerning mobile integration, reports have noted that Microsoft is willing to partner with the Indian government on Aadhaar and other identity authentication projects.
Microsoft India Chairman Bhaskar Pramanik told media sources: “We have presented various case scenarios on how Skype can be used. We already support iris authentication on Windows 10. Now it depends on them how they want to proceed.”
According to reports, the global software giant has already partnered with the Andhra Pradesh state government in testing a pilot project designed to reduce high school dropout rates. Using data analytics, the solution predicts how many students will drop out of school, helping teachers make better decisions to curb the problem. Microsoft notes it will extend the program to Punjab and is also discussion with other states to extend it elsewhere through India.
Microsoft is also reported to have established another pilot project that assists farmers to obtain SMS notifications on when is the best time to sow seeds, so that they can obtain the best yield.
By taking the position to work with the central and state governments, Microsoft is positioning itself to participate in the estimated, multi-billion dollar Aadhaar third-party marketplace.