What is Aadhaar?

  • Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique number which the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will issue for all residents.

  • The number will be stored in a centralised database and linked to the basic demographics and biometric information – photograph, ten fingerprints and iris – of each individual.

  • The details of the data fields and verification procedures are available here.

    Aadhaar will be:
  • Easily verifiable in an online, cost-effective way.

  • Unique and robust enough to eliminate the large number of duplicate and fake identities in government and private databases.

  • A random number generated, devoid of any classification based on caste, creed, religion and geography.

Why Aadhaar?

  • Aadhaar-based identification will have two unique features. Universality, which is ensured because Aadhaar will over time be recognised and accepted across the country and across all service providers.

  • Every resident's entitlement to the number.

  • The number will consequently form the basic, universal identity infrastructure over which Registrars and Agencies across the country can build their identity-based applications.

  • Unique Identification of India (UIDAI) will build partnerships with various Registrars across the country to enrol residents for the number.

  • Such Registrars may include state governments, state Public Sector Units (PSUs), banks, telecom companies, etc. These Registrars may in turn partner with enrolling agencies to enrol residents into Aadhaar.

  • Aadhaar will ensure increased trust between public and private agencies and residents.

  • Once residents enroll for Aadhaar, service providers will no longer face the problem of performing repeated Know Your Customer (KYC) checks before providing services. They would no longer have to deny services to residents without identification documents.

  • 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 will empower poor and underprivileged residents in accessing services such as the formal banking system and give them the opportunity to easily avail various other services provided by the Government and the private sector.

  • The centralised technology infrastructure of the UIDAI will enable 'anytime, anywhere, anyhow' 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.

  • Aadhaar will also demand proper verification prior to enrolment, while ensuring inclusion.

  • Existing identity databases in India are fraught with problems of fraud and duplicate or ghost beneficiaries. To prevent these problems from seeping into the Aadhaar database, the UIDAI plans to enrol residents into its database with proper verification of their demographic and biometric information.

  • This will ensure that the data collected is clean from the beginning of the program.

  • However, much of the poor and under-privileged population lack identity documents and Aadhaar may be the first form of identification they will have access to.

  • The UIDAI will ensure that its Know Your Resident (KYR) standards do not become a barrier for enrolling the poor and has accordingly developed an Introducer system for residents who lack documentation.

  • Through this system, authorised individuals ('Introducers') who already have an Aadhaar, can introduce residents who don't have any identification documents, enabling them to receive their Aadhaar.

Who can get an Aadhaar?

An individual who is a resident in India and satisfies the verification process laid down by the UIDAI can get an Aadhaar.

How to get an Aadhaar

  • Aadhaar enrolment is free.

  • A resident will have to go to an enrolling agency, fill up an application form and provide the supporting documentation (Please  click here  for a nationally valid list of documents.) and the enrolling agency will capture the photo, finger print and iris.
  • The enrolling agency will collect this information and send the data, to the UIDAI as per the procedure prescribed by the UIDAI.

  • The UID system will then carry out a de-duplication exercise.

  • If the individual is not already in the database, a UID number will be issued and a letter is sent to the person at their residence. The UID number will also be sent back to the Registrar for use in their service database.

  • If the individual is already in the database the registration will be rejected and the person will be informed of the same.