BENGALURU: With an increasing number of digitally enabled services being linked to Aadhaar numbers, there has been a surge in Aadhaar enrolments over the past two months. In December, as many as 1.6 crore people enrolled across the country compared to 1.04 crore in November. Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) officials foresee an average of 1.5 crore registrations continuing for the next six months.
According to UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey, 38.5 crore people have linked their Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and 48 crore bank accounts have been linked to Aadhaar till now.
“There is a decrease in the number of people who do not have Aadhaar numbers. Over the next six months, we will continue to see an average of 1.5 crore enrollments every month, after which it will decline. This is because a majority of the people would have secured their Aadhaar numbers by then,” Pandey told Express. As many as 40,000 machines have been deployed with a capacity of 20 lakh registrations per day. This would be sufficient to manage the current number of enrollments, he added.
Last year, the finance ministry introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 intended for delivery of subsidiaries by linking Aadhaar numbers.
Noting that a substantial number of Indians was enrolled under Aadhaar, Rishabh Bharadwaj, senior associate at Khaitan & Co, observed, “The Watal Committee on Digital Payments has, among others, recommended promotion of Aadhaar-based e-KYC and paperless authentication, and full inter-operability of Aadhaar-based payments. If accepted by the central government, Aadhaar will result in more convenient and hassle-free KYC checks and transactions. This would eventually make Aadhaar indispensable and may also result in phasing out of the current modes of electronic payment.”
While there are benefits in having a single number as an identity proof, it’s time that the government spoke about data privacy regulations, said Parminder Jeet Singh, executive director, ITforChange, who leads research on governance reform and Internet Governance.
“Aadhaar is like having one smart card for all purposes instead of ten different ones. But privacy remains a question. I don’t know why the government is not even discussing about privacy regulations. It also has to be ensured that the implementation is inclusive and reaches out to people in remote areas. Sometimes when systems become strong, their exclusions also become strong,” he added.
Saket Modi, CEO and co-founder, Lucideus, IT Risk Assessment and Digital Security Services provider, held an optimistic view about the data management. “Digital authentication is becoming a tremendously important concept considering that we are moving into a future where irrespective of industry, we will have to digitise.”
As for privacy, he opined that the quantity of data is not a function of the risk of the data. “Saying that it is massive and hence hackable… is not true. Take the case of a 32 GB pen drive. If you can’t hack into 10 GB, you can’t hack into 30 GB. We cannot compare the virtual world in proportion with the physical world, in this case.”