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UID Technology System


UID Technology System

Besides the social benefits, the technology benefits to the Government sector could be manifold. The UID Technology would enable creation of an e-governance cloud platform to be shared by central and state governments

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been created by the Government of India as an attached office under the Planning Commission. Its role is to develop and implement the necessary institutional, technical and legal infrastructure to issue Unique Identity numbers to Indian residents. UIDAI has adopted the name Aadhaar for the 12-digit unique number which it will issue for all residents. The number will be stored in a centralized database and will be linked to the basic demographics and biometric information – photograph, ten fingerprints and iris – of each individual. The features of the Aadhaar will be that this number will only provide identity and prove identity not citizenship, and facilitate enrolment of residents with proper verification and adoption of a partnership model. The UIDAI will be the regulatory authority managing a Central ID Repository (CIDR), which will issue UID numbers, update resident information and authenticate the identity of the residents as required.

Technology systems will have a major role across the UDIAI infrastructure. The UID database will be stored on a central server. Enrolment of the resident will be computerized, and information exchange between Registrars and the CIDR will be over a network. Authentication of the residents will be online. The Authority will put systems in place for the security and safety of information.
The UID Technology Solution encompasses application software, system software, infrastructure, including IT systems, Private Cloud of Data Centres. It also encompasses all the processes required to architect, design, develop, release, deploy and manage the solution and manage the cloud & data center operations. The UID Software system consists of the enrolment client application, enrolment and authentication server applications, and AADHAAR Unified portal, Business Intelligence Module, Fraud Detection Module and the entire supporting software platform. The CIDR refers to the infrastructure including NOC, Cloud of Data Centres, Network, Servers and Storage, for production, staging and testing. The CIDR operations refer to the managed services required to operate the cloud of data centers and associated infrastructure (Network, Servers, Storage, Power, and HVAC).
UID Technology solution has three main parts, namely UID Technology Solution (UID-TS), Partner Systems interacting with the UID-TS and the UID Stakeholder Ecosystem. The three components are described briefly as below.
The application hosted by CIDR can be broadly categorized under the core applications and supporting applications. In the core category are the enrolment and authentication applications services, while the supporting category consists of applications required for administration, analytics, reporting, fraud detection interfaces to Logistics Provider and Contact Center and the portal. The Enrolment Application services comprises of the client enrolment request for providing a UID. The enrolment application orchestrates the enrolment workflow by integrating various sub-systems such as demographic data validation, biometric de-duplication, and UID generation. Lifecycle updates (not only initial enrolment) such as correction, on-going updates, child re-enrolments, death reporting, etc. are also possible through the application. Manual Exception Workflow is required to resolve Enrolment requests that cannot be resolved automatically. Basic Letter Printing and Delivery functionality is also available.
The Authentication Application provides the identity authentication services. Various authentication request types such demographic, biometric, simple or advanced authentications are supported. The UID number submitted is used for 1:1 match for the resident’s record. The inputs would be then matched against the resident information stored in CIDR databases to authenticate the resident.
The Fraud Detection Application is deployed to detect and reduce identity fraud. For example identify fraud scenarios that the application needs to handle are: misrepresentation of information, multiple registrations by same resident, registration for non-existent residents, or authentication as someone else. Multiple approaches are used for detecting fraud. The Administrative Application takes care of user management, roles and access control, business process automation, and status reporting. It ensures a trust network across both internal and external entities. The external entities could be registrars, enrolment agencies, field agencies, introducers, authentication user agencies, and other partners within the eco system.

UIDAI has selected biometrics as the primary method to check for duplicate identity records, in order to ensure that an individual can establish their identity uniquely in an easy and cost-effective manner. Hence, one of the key component of the UID Technology is the Biometric Solution. Three biometric Solution Providers have been selected by UIDAI to operate simultaneously in CIDR. The biometric solution is intended to perform the following functions:

a. Biometric image capture, segmentation & quality check during the enrolment process
b. Matching of biometrics to enable provision of identity verification by UIDAI
c. 1:N biometric de-duplication to enable issuance of Unique ID to every resident of India

Biometric Enrollment : the Biometric Solution is able to provide components to capture, segment and perform quality check of biometric images as part of enrollment client software. These components are capture device independent and provide consistent and compliant images for the enrollment server. The biometric data captured is as per data formats laid out in Biometric Design Standards for UID Applications, Biometric Committee Report.

Biometric De-duplication (multi-modal de-duplication solution) : The other core component of UID enrolment is biometric duplicate check. The duplicate check function of the proposed Biometric Solution receives incoming multi-modal biometric data and performs biometric duplicate check against the gallery. UIDAI at present captures multi-modal biometric features (Fingerprints, Face and Iris) of every resident for 1:N biometric de-duplication.
It is expected that with the implementation of Aadhaar technology and ecosystem the residents who enroll for Aadhaar will no longer face the problem of performing repeated Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. Residents would also be spared the trouble of repeatedly proving identity through documents each time they wish to access services such as obtaining a bank account, passport, or driving license etc. By providing a clear proof of identity, Aadhaar is expected to empower poor and underprivileged residents in accessing services such as the services formal banking system and give them the opportunity to easily avail various other provided by the Government.
The centralized technology infrastructure of the UIDAI will enable ‘anytime, anywhere’ authentication. Aadhaar will thus give migrants mobility of identity. Aadhaar authentication can be done both offline and online. Online authentication through a cell phone or land line connection will allow residents to verify their identity remotely. Remotely, online Aadhaar-linked identity verification will give poor and rural residents the same flexibility that urban non-poor residents presently have in verifying their identity and accessing services such as banking and retail. Besides the social benefits, the technology benefits to the Government sector could be manifold. The UID Technology would enable creation of an e-governance cloud platform to be shared by central and state governments, ready to use platforms, easy to build applications with reusable technology elements and components, processes and skills , provide a boost to relevant technology, including biometrics.
It is thus seen that the UID Technology Solution (UID-TS) will be the core technology solution enabling Unique ID implementation. This technology solution will have three key roles to play:
1) Capture and store biographic, photographic and biometric information of residents of India.
2) Generate and assign a Unique, 12-digit ID number for each resident
3) Act as a means for identity and address verification for various user agencies with a certain level of assurance

The core technology challenges related to the UID Technology Solution flow from the biometric matching system. At the heart of the challenge is the enrolment process that would require the UID Technology Solution to perform the biometric de-duplication on a population of India’s size with acceptable degrees of accuracy and turnaround time. Surrounding the challenge are issues of ‘nearly difficult to predict’ workloads on the system and security.
These translate into challenges for designing the computing system that would be required to perform reliable 1:N de-duplication within a definite period of time to issue a Unique ID to a resident. This is surrounded by considerations pertaining to scalability, information security, disaster recovery and business continuity.

By : B B Nanawati  : The author is Deputy Director General, UIDAI, Planning Commission, Government of India. (


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