Budget 2018: Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI has been allocated nearly 15 per cent more funds at Rs 1,375 crore for 2018-19, which are expected to be used for technology upgradation and strengthening the overall capacity. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was given Rs 900 crore in the last Budget, but later the allocation was revised to Rs 1,200 crore. As per the Budget documents, the UIDAI’s allocation for 2018-19 stands at Rs 1,375 crore. When contacted, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI: “Our allocation will be utilised for upgradation of technology and hardware.”
He noted that the demand for Aadhaar authentication is on the rise, and that daily authentications have touched an average four crore. “Usage of Aadhaar will be more than before. We will be upscaling our capacity and capability so that we can service growing requirements – for usage and authentication – of Aadhaar,” Pandey added.
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Yesterday, while presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that Aadhaar has eased the delivery of many public services to residents. “Aadhaar has provided an identity to every Indian,” Jaitley had said. Noting that every enterprise, be it large or small, also “needs a unique ID”, Jaitley had said the government will evolve “a scheme to assign every individual enterprise in India a unique ID”.
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It is pertinent to mention here that as many as 119 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued so far, and this biometric identifier is required as an identity proof of residents by various government and non-government entities. For instance, the government has made it mandatory for verifying bank accounts and PANs to weed out black money and bring unaccounted wealth to book. The same for cellphone SIMs has been mandated to establish the identity of mobile phone users.
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The UIDAI recently announced a new concept of ‘Virtual ID’ which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID. The soon-to-be-introduced Virtual ID, a random 16-digit number, will give the users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.
Aadhaar has also announced that it will soon include face recognition alongside iris or fingerprint scan as a means of verifying the users, helping those who face issues in biometric authentication or have worn-out fingerprints.