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CAG’s audit of UIDAI:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important Statutory Bodies.

 

Context:

CAG has presented its performance audit of Aadhaar’s regulator, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It was carried out over a four-year period between FY2015 and FY2019.

  • CAG’s audit portrays an unsatisfactory picture of the systems and processes in UIDAI.

 

Issues highlighted by the Report:

  • Issue of duplicate Aadhaar.
  • Lack of oversight of subcontractors: Many failed to get their operations audited annually.
  • UIDAI neither has granular data nor is it able to pinpoint the cause of failure.
  • No Documents for Proof of Residency: UIDAI has not prescribed any specific proof/document or process for confirming whether an applicant has resided in India for the specified period.
  • Faulty Enrolment Process: UIDAI appeared to have charged people for biometric updates when poor quality data was fed in during enrolment. UIDAI did not take responsibility for poor quality biometrics.
  • Bal Aadhar: The audit was also critical of UIDAI’s move to issue Aadhaar cards to children and newborns without biometrics under an initiative known as Bal Aadhaar. This needs to be reviewed because anyway after 5 years, a child has to apply for new regular Aadhar.
  • Issues related to data security.

 

Recommendations:

  1. Prescribe a Procedure for Self Declaration.
  2. Tighten the Service Level Agreement (SLA) parameters of Biometric Service Providers (BSPs).
  3. Explore Alternate Ways to Capture Uniqueness of Biometric Identity for Minor.
  4. Proactive Steps to Identify and Fill the Missing Documents.
  5. Frame a Suitable Data Archival Policy.

 

How does UIDAI operate?

UIDAI operates Aadhar through a layer of subcontractors. So, when an applicant’s biometrics are uploaded to the Central Identities Data Repository, it may be executed by the third layer of subcontractors. A similar system is in place when a financial intermediary seeks to authenticate the identity of a potential customer by using the Aadhar database.

 

About UIDAI:

The UIDAI is a statutory authority established on 12th July 2016.

Parent body: Works under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Initially, the UIDAI was set up by the Government of India in January 2009, as an attached office under the aegis of the Planning Commission.

Mandate: The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all the residents of India.

Total: As of 31st October 2021, UIDAI had issued 131.68 crore Aadhaar numbers.

 

Practice Question:

 

Consider the following statements:

 

  1. Aadhaar metadata cannot be stored for more than three months.
  2. State cannot enter into any contract with private corporations for sharing of Aadhaar data.
  3. Aadhaar is mandatory for obtaining insurance products.
  4. Aadhaar is mandatory for getting benefits funded out of the Consolidated Fund of India.

Which of the statements given above is / are correct ?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UIDAI.
  2. Aadhaar.
  3. Registration of UIDAI.
  4. Planning Commission.
  5. Biometric information.
  6. Data Privacy.

Sources: the Hindu.