India launches Aadhaar verification services, enrolment centers

Country's Planning Commission says citizens can use iris scans or one-time pin authentication with their Aadhaar numbers to access services. Permanent centers will also be set up to enrol residents for the Aadhaar scheme.
Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent on

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has launched two new authentication measures to verify a citizen's identity as well as permanent Aadhaar enrolment centers housed in government buildings as it further builds out the country's electronic ID system.

In a statement issued last Friday, India's Planning Commission introduced the authentication services using a person's iris and mobile one-time pin (OTP).

UIDAI Chairman Shri Nandan Nilekani added in the statement: "This is a major step in the direction of enabling Aadhaar holders to [access] various services by using the Aadhaar identity platform. It also makes sense for various user agencies, both public or private, as they can identify a beneficiary or customer using a fast, secure, economical and paperless format."

For residents using the iris authentication method, they will have to provide both their Aadhaar number along with a scan of the eye. The iris scan will then be matched with the image stored in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) to verify the person's identity, the planning commission said.

The UIDAI had conducted proof-of-concept testing for the technology and concluded that more than 99 percent of the over 400 million registered residents can be authenticated, it added.

Those preferring to use the OTP method will have to register their mobile numbers or e-mail addresses with the UIDAI in order to access the service. In order to verify their identities, residents will have to request for an OTP from the CIDR before sending the pin together with their Aadhaar numbers back to the database for authentication, the statement noted.

"User agencies that take advantage of Aadhaar authentication can use OTP to provide a single-factor authentication, or in combination with biometrics to achieve a two-factor authentication. This would offer higher flexibility to Authentication User Agencies in terms of deploying appropriate modality based on factors like demographics, service delivery platform and/or domain security requirements," the department said.

The Planning Commission also announced "Aadhaar Kendras", or permanent centers located in government buildings, to enrol residents overlooked by the previous recruitment camps. Residents can request another copy of their Aadhaar letter for INR 10, or update their biometric or demographic data for INR 15.
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