Aadhaar an important tool for govt: Srikanth Nadhamuni, CEO, Khosla Labs

Written by Anand J | Updated: Oct 31 2014, 06:30am hrs
Srikanth Nadhamuni had set up the technology centre for the development, design and operations of the Aadhaar system when he was the head of technology at UIDAI. He is currently CEO of Bangalore-based Khosla Labs, which is actively associated with Aadhaar, and is doing a hackathon for entrepreneurs on December 6 for developing apps on the Aadhaar platform. Nadhamuni talks to Anand J about the the possibilities of Aadhaar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi backing the system. Edited excerpts:

What has changed for Aadhaar with the new government at the Centre

The Prime Minister has endorsed Aadhaar. The direct benefits transfer, NREGA and the Jan Dhan Yojana will probably use this. From a government services delivery and financial inclusion perspective, Aadhaar seems to be becoming an important tool for the government. Also for the Digital India vision, Aadhaar will become a key point according to IT secretary RS Sharma. We need a digital record of all your documents and allow people to access it according to requirements and here Aadhaar will help. It will cut down all the inconvenience and reduce corruption as well. This will also help us to use digital signature on a bigger scale.

When will we reach 100% coverage

In the last four years, we have done 70 crore IDs, which is a world record. We have the capacity to enroll one million people a day on Aadhaar and we should be able to finish in another 18 months.

What about the people who dropped out of the Aadhaar system

In every village where the enrolment booths were set up, people came out in full force. Pretty much 100%, because they understand that more and more schemes will come under this programme. More over, this is the scheme which is project agnostic and people understand the power of a unique single ID. Personally, I found a huge interest in Aadhaar in urban areas, too.

There is a lot of interest around apps being built for Aadhaar. How do you see the developments

We carefully designed an open system so that apps can be built on top of that, like Google, Apple and Facebook have done. Most identity systems around the world are closed systems and for specific departments. Here, it is an identity platform that can create an ecosystem around it through which private companies build apps.

What is the extent of security we have when a lot of private players have access to citizens ID numbers and information

Everything in your enrolment packet is encrypted and you cant break that in a million years. Nobody can access the data as the software is written by us and can be opened with a particular signature. Even if an enrolment agency loses a laptop, nothing will go wrong as there is a hardware security module. And during authentication you will only get a yes or no answer and no identity or details are revealed. Aadhaar is an opaque data base even to government agencies as we wanted to ensure the privacy of citizens.

What is Khosla Labs doing with respect

to Aadhaar

We have told entrepreneurs that we will teach them how to integrate the app with Aadhaar in one hour. We are running a hackathon to develop an Aadhaar app in 24 hours and will give away prizes. With the help of Nasscom, UID and angel funds, we will spread the word and we will help and teach as many entrepreneurs as possible.