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India plans to boost Family ID adoption, upgrade Aadhaar to streamline service delivery

India plans to boost Family ID adoption, upgrade Aadhaar to streamline service delivery

The government of Uttar Pradesh in India says it is building on the Family ID novelty it launched early this year on a pilot basis as it plans to build a robust database for families enabling them to benefit from major government schemes such as direct benefit transfers (DBTs).

Press Trust of India (PTI) reports that about 44,000 people are so far enrolled for the 12-digit ID since a trial began in January.

Information about the development of the Family ID emerged in 2021 with officials saying it would be an efficient way of tracking and managing beneficiaries of key social benefit programs at the level of families.

“One of the major initiatives of the Uttar Pradesh government is the Family ID which uses the ration card number for identification of a family. We get details of a family either through a ration card or a family register. They get an Aadhaar card which takes information from 17 departments and we get to know if a beneficiary has taken Kisan Samman fund or student scholarship, among others,” Asim Arun, Uttar Pradesh minister of social welfare, told PTI in an interview.

The Minister explained that the Family ID will also be of help to many families which are left out of government schemes, sometimes due to lack of information. It is also hoped that Family ID will make the DBT system more efficient.

Arun also gave assurances about data privacy for the family ID project. “Data privacy and security are important for us. We are not aggregating any data on our servers. The 17 departments that access this data have API (application programming interface) access. For data privacy, we are extremely cautious that details like Aadhaar numbers are not published online,” he said, as quoted by PTI.

Aadhaar upgrade continues

Meanwhile, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced that work is underway to strengthen Aadhaar’s ecosystem by upgrading the biometric ID’s security features.

This is as result of the growing popularity of the ID which is used to carry out more than 200 crore (two billion) authentications every month, according to a press release from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

UIDAI is talking of an Aadhaar 2.0 upgrade, which roadmap includes continued focus on resident-centricity, enhancing the use of the ID, further strengthening the people’s trust in it, adoption of new technologies and upgrading of existing technologies. The international outreach of the digital ID would also be increased.

The press release mentions a long list of capabilities for biometric deduplication already possible with the Aadhaar as well as other functions which need to be added or completed.

One of the things authorities require citizens to do with the Aadhaar is to link it to their voter ID, and they have given a deadline of 31 March for registered voters to do so. It is a revised deadline from an earlier 1 April one, reports Hindustan Times. The linkage is not compulsory but authorities say it is important for avoiding multiple registrations.

Meanwhile, the Aadhaar system has been an inspiration to some countries which have been using an open-source model to develop their own digital ecosystems. Among the countries which are using the Aadhaar example to build their own ID systems include the Philippines and Morocco, which have each adopted MOSIP.

Other than these two, about eight to ten more countries plan to follow the Aadhaar example to develop their digital ID system, India’s The Economic Times reports, citing a senior UIDAI official.

The countries mentioned by the official include Kenya, Brazil, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mexico, Singapore.

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