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UIDAI CEO lauds successes of Aadhaar biometric ID at India Digital Week 2022

UIDAI CEO lauds successes of Aadhaar biometric ID at India Digital Week 2022

India has seen some of its major innovation-first projects driven largely by the Aadhaar biometric ID system, the new foundational identity platform on which all other digital services have been built and are flourishing.

This is the description of India’s biometric registry by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Saurabh Garg, who spoke at Digital India Week last week, India Times reports.

The UIDAI is the Indian government agency responsible for managing the Aadhaar ID system. India’s national biometric registry, though with a checkered past, is celebrated by some as the world’s biggest digital ID system.

The UIDAI claimed in May that Aadhaar had at the time saved the Indian government at least $29 billion in revenue, although it has also recently come under criticism over some systemic inadequacies and shortcomings in its functioning.

Garg said through Aadhaar, the India Stack, which constitutes components such as electronic know your customer (eKYC), digital signature (eSign), Digilocker, UPI, Rupay, eRupi, and FASTag, have created room for other digital layers to be established for the provision of a wide array of digital services. This, in turn, has positioned India as a shining example of a ‘digital stack.’

Latest figures

Citing official figures, the UIDAI CEO said as of today, a total number of 133 crores (about 1.3 billion) Aadhaar IDs have been generated, which represents about 93 percent of India’s population. More than four crores (40 million) of new Aadhaar enrollments and over 16 crores (160 million) updates were completed between 2021 and 2022.

The CEO of the digital services company Protean eGov Technologies, Suresh Sethi, echoed Garg’s point, lauding India’s efforts in establishing such a successful ID system even as other countries across the globe struggle to set up digital ID ecosystems and build digital stacks.

“India has so far issued more than 400 million PAN cards, saved more than 6.5 billion TDS/TCS deductee records, identified more than 50 million pension subscribers through NPS and APY, witnessed more than 90 million Aadhaar enrolments, and two billion Aadhaar authentications, and registered 3.5 million students,” Sethi said, as quoted by India Times.

The official also explained the importance of digital ID and its various use cases, mentioning among other things that it can help in background ID verification, seamless digital banking and payment services, business registration processes, tax payment, and filing, as well as for other civil activities such as digital voting, enrollment in schools and property acquisition and management.

India Stack Knowledge Exchange

Digital India Week kicked off on July 7. The event brought together thousands of people from about 53 countries to share knowledge and thoughts, drawing lessons from how India is advancing its digital transformation ambitions, writes Business World.

The event featured a dedicated segment that took place from July 7 to 9 under the theme ‘India Stack Knowledge Exchange.’

The outlet quotes the Secretary at the MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) Alkesh Kumar Sharma, as speaking during this segment about the strides so far recorded by the country as a global digital hub.

During the India Stack Knowledge Exchange, working sessions discussed the evolution of the Aadhaar biometric system, the innovations in India’s digital payment system, and the achievements recorded in the education sector.

The event launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw deep discussions on different other aspects concerning India’s biometric registry and how it has helped in building the India Stack.

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