Over 1.21 billion people are enrolled in the world’s largest biometric identification system


The Indian government’s Aadhaar identification initiative has now reached a new milestone. As of July 2018, almost eight years after the first Aadhaar card was issued (in September 2010), the total number of enrollees in the programme has crossed 1.21 billion, according to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

According to the 2011 Census, this is what India’s population was at the time. According to official projections from the UIDAI, nearly 92% of India’s current population now has an Aadhar card.

The data suggests that Indian residents who are still without Aadhaar cards are mostly children. Only 350,000 adults are estimated to be outside the Aadhar net, something that the UIDAI is looking to correct by ramping up its operations in lesser-connected parts of the country. like the Northeastern states. Once it onboards every adult, the government will start focusing on getting children enrolled in the programme.

Fastest to one billion

The Aadhar programme crossed one billion enrollments in April 2016, which reportedly made it the fastest digital programme to the world to reach that kind of scale.

This is largely because of the fact that the government had made it mandatory to register for an Aadhaar card in order to benefit from public welfare schemes. It also made it mandatory to link one’s Aadhar number with one’s PAN card, mobile phone and bank account, imposing a number of deadlines to do so in the process.

The programme’s image has been dented over concerns related to the the security of enrollees info and privacy issues. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled in March that it would not longer be mandatory to link one’s Aadhaar number with a phone number and bank account, extending the deadline indefinitely. To further address privacy issues, the UIDAI recently implemented a Virtual ID scheme wherein a 16-digital temporary number is issued to people so they can authenticate their information.

Currently, around 10 million people enroll themselves in the programme or update their details every day. Furthermore, close to 13,000 Aadhaar enrollment centres have been established in India in conjunction with the country’s postal service, as compared to an envisioned figure of 14,200.
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