India's biometric ID projects near 400M people milestone

Summary:Through the National Population Register and Unique Identification Authority of India, India's efforts to digitize the over a billion citizens' biometric records in a centralized system is now at the 394.1 million mark.

The Indian government has catalogued the biometric credentials of 394.1 million citizens, according to latest figures released by the government.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, R. P. N. Singh, stated the National Population Register (NPR) has scanned the biometric details of 134.2 million residents--specifically the 10 fingerprints and iris scans of both eyes of any citizen over five years old. This information is used to issue a resident identity card (RIC).
Meanwhile, as of March 31, 2013, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has used the biometric details to generate a total of 311.9 million unique identifiers (UID) , also known also as Aadhaar numbers.
There was, however, an overlap between the two agencies given that the UIDAI had used NPR's information to generate 52 million of its 311.9 million Aadhaar numbers, according to Singh.
Discounting the overlap, both agencies have so far collated the biometric details of 394.1 million Indians.
While the process will continue as it is, Aadhaar information will have priority over the NPR's efforts going forward. Singh said: "During the course of NPR biometric enrolment, [should] a person indicates she/he is already enrolled for Aadhaar, the biometric data will not be captured by NPR. Instead the Aadhaar number will be recorded by NPR and the biometric data will be sourced from the UIDAI."
The two organizations were given the responsibilty of collecting biometric details and issuing their respective resident IDs in a bid to streamline the distribution of welfare and social services to citizens--a process mired in corruption .
However, industry watchers have previously said the ID smartcard and ID number are fundamentally different projects, not complementary, which undermine the government's ambitious project.

Topics: Government, India, Legal, Security


Mahesh Sharma earned his pen licence in his homeland, where he covered the technology industry for ZDNet, SMH, Sky Business News, and The Australian--first as an FTE, and later as a freelancer. The latter fueled his passion for startups and empowered a unique perspective on entrepreneurs' passion to solve problems using technology. Armed... Full Bio

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