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Two dozen new Indian insurers approved for eKYC checks with Aadhaar biometrics

Yoti fellow reports exclusion persists in identity system
Two dozen new Indian insurers approved for eKYC checks with Aadhaar biometrics

India’s federal government has approved the use of the Aadhaar national biometric system by 24 more insurers to authenticate the identity of people purchasing policies to prevent money laundering through shell companies, Zee News reports. The measure is also expected to reduce transaction costs.

The insurers will be able to use Aadhaar to perform real-time eKYC checks, after the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) approved them under new rules established by the government earlier this year. The rules allow securities and insurance firms to perform eKYC checks with Aadhaar, and 29 qualifying entities were specified at the time.

The next crop of insurers includes major providers LIC of India, TATA AIA Life Insurance and Reliance.

Social context poses inclusivity challenge

The increasing reliance on Aadhaar for a range of services could lead to the entrenchment of existing social inclusion, Yoti Digital Identity Fellow Subhashish Panigrahi writes in his latest blog post.

Panigrahi draws a parallel with Kenya’s Huduma Namba, which has been accused of excluding people from the historically marginalized Nubian community, as the social context the identity technology is applied in may contain problems technology is not an appropriate tool to deal with.

In India, Aadhaar is closely tied to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which established who qualified for Aadhaar as a citizen, but allegedly left out millions of Dalit, Muslim, and Adivasi people. Aadhaar services are not available in the native languages of many of these people, and appealing the decisions of the NRC entails making a case to the ‘Foreigner’s Tribunal,’ but NRC processes are on hold due to COVID-19 lockdowns, leaving people in limbo, according to Panigrahi.

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