Close to 20 million Aadhaar records could have mixed biometrics

Between 1 and 1.5 percent of all Aadhaar enrollments over the past seven years, or between 13 and 19 million, have “mixed biometrics” from different individuals in the same account, according to an internal communication between officials at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), The New Indian Express reports.

The UIDAI has already identified the Aadhaar numbers associated with the problem, and has written some letters to affected Aadhaar holders, most of whom are in rural areas, to have their biometrics captured again. Those affected include an estimated 600,000 to 900,000 accounts in the state of Karnataka, the Express reports, and a government source said the state is receiving about 450 complaints each month regarding the issue.

Many affected accounts were enrolled during the initial phase of Aadhaar’s rollout, when biometric data was mixed up, often with that of relatives.

“In order to meet targets, some enrolling agencies used biometrics of accompanying relatives if they were not able to register the biometric data of the person who was getting enrolled,” a source told the Express. “Ramifications of this are emerging now as some people are facing problems to avail Aadhaar-linked essential services.” The officer also said that the UIDAI is organizing camps across the country to reenroll the biometrics of those affected.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) recently instructed banks to discontinue the “Pay to Aadhaar” system amid uncertainty about the evolution of its framework.

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