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Vendors for iris recognition Aadhaar devices to be enrolled soon


India’s ministry of electronics and information technology has started enrolling vendors for providing iris-based Aadhaar authentication devices to facilitate the government’s e-governance promise and transition towards paperless transactions, according to a report by Infracircle.

The National Democratic Alliance government is looking to provide financial services to all citizens through biometric identification through JAM (short for Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) trinity.

The Aadhaar-enabled devices captures the people’s personal information as well as their finger and iris imprints for real-time authentication.

The ministry recently posted a request for proposal for such devices for interested original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or their authorized business partners for enrollment.

The move follows the ministry’s two rounds of discussions in July and in August to develop and prescribe a unified API for ease of application development on smartphones and tablets by omitting the operating system level restrictions to enable easier integration of biometric devices with Aadhaar-enabled applications.

The move will help reduce cost and time for the government departments and private firms to obtain these devices.

The type of device which is envisaged to be empanelled in the aforesaid contract should have a screen size between four and seven inches in case of a phone, and seven inches and above in case of tablets.

“The plan is to make every tablet and smartphone in India to be Aadhaar-enabled so that users can biometrically authenticate themselves. Also, the services, which currently require a physical presence and signatures, can be provided to people digitally in presence-less, paperless and cashless manner,” according to the document.

The devices will be capable of conducting iris-based authentication as per Aadhaar authentication framework.

Additionally, the Unique Identification Authority of India has completed proof of concept exercises relating to iris technology, which found that more than 99% of people could be reliably authenticated.

Fingerprint-based authentication always involves the risk of failure because of deterioration of beneficiaries’ fingerprint quality, especially when considering India’s large farm worker population.

There are currently 1 billion citizens with Aadhaar numbers, out of which 400 million own smartphones. In addition, more than 310 million people have linked their Aadhaar numbers to their bank accounts.

Previously reported, India’s government is demanding that Apple open up its mobile devices and operating system to accommodate its Aadhaar biometric database.

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