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Functioning Of The UIDAI : CAG Report

Functioning Of The UIDAI : CAG Report

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, has pulled up the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) over a range of issues related to the issuance of Aadhaar cards.

  • The findings are part of the first performance review by the country’s independent auditor of UIDAI, which was carried out over a four-year period between FY2015 and FY2019.
  • The UIDAI is a statutory authority established on 12th July 2016 by the Government of India under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following the provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016.
  • The UIDAI was initially set up by the Government of India in January 2009, as an attached office under the aegis of the Planning Commission.
  • The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all the residents of India.

CAG Report:

  • UIDAI has not prescribed any specific proof/document or process for confirming whether an applicant has resided in India for the specified period, and takes confirmation of the residential status through a casual self-declaration from the applicant.
  • Also, there was no system in place to check the affirmations of the applicant.
  • In India, Aadhaar numbers are only issued to individuals who have resided for a period of 182 days or more in the 12 months before the date of application.
  • According to the CAG report, the UIDAI had to cancel more than 4,75,000 Aadhaars (as of November 2019) for “being duplicate”.
  • This data indicates that on average no less than 145 Aadhaars generated in a day during the period of nine years since 2010 were duplicate numbers requiring cancellation.
  • The purpose of the Aadhaar system is that it is unique – that is, no individual can obtain two Aadhaar numbers, and that a specific person’s biometrics cannot be used to obtain Aadhaar numbers for different people.
  • UIDAI appeared to have charged people for biometric updates when poor quality data was fed in during enrolment.
  • UIDAI did not take responsibility for poor quality biometrics and put the onus on the resident and charged fees for it.
  • All the Aadhaar numbers stored in the UIDAI database were not supported with documents on the demographic information of the resident.
  • It “caused doubts about the correctness and completeness of resident’s data collected and stored by UIDAI prior to 2016”.
  • The audit was also critical of UIDAI’s move to issue Aadhaar cards to children and newborns without biometrics under an initiative known as Bal Aadhaar.
  • This needs to be reviewed because anyway after 5 years, a child has to apply for new regular Aadhar. The unique identity is not matched anyway because it is issued on the basis of documents of parents.
  • Apart from being violative of the statutory provisions, the UIDAI has also incurred avoidable expenditure of Rs 310 crore on the issue of Bal Aadhaars till 31st March 2019.
  • In Phase- II of ICT assistance a further sum of Rs 288.11 crore was released up to the year 2020-21 to states/schools primarily for the issuance of Aadhaars to minor children.