What is Aadhaar Virtual ID ?

What the founder of project Aadhaar has to say about Virtual ID

#Aadhaar is here to stay! Happy that the @UIDAI has introduced virtual ID and limited KYC in the spirit of continuous innovation to enhance privacy and security. https://t.co/EyWGB2KiK5

— Nandan Nilekani (@NandanNilekani) January 10, 2018

On 10th January 2018, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues the Aadhaar card, has introduced a new way to secure biometric details of the citizens. This is the move taken after few media reports alleged that personal data of millions of people could be easily accessed by breaching into the 12-digit unique IDs.

Indian government highly concerned with the safety of Biometric data of millions of its citizens, introduced a concept of a temporary, 16-digit Virtual ID (VID) that can be used by Aadhaar holders for authentication purposes. As Government of India has mandated Aadhaar card number to be registered with banks, financial institutions, permanent account numbers (PAN), Subsidy schemes and a host of other essential utilities. Therefore, Aadhaar is to be furnished for availing all these facilities. But with the launch of a Virtual ID, users can provide this temporary 16-digit number for verification purposes.

   Highlights

  • ?UIDAI will start accepting VID from March 1, 2018
  • ?UIDAI has also introduced the concept of ‘limited KYC’
  • ?People have been raising privacy concerns over mandatory Aadhaar linking


What is Virtual ID (VID)?

The Virtual ID, would be a random 16-digit number, which would give limited details od the Aadhaar Card holder like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification. So, users will the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, however if they still wish to share their Aadhaar number, they can do so, as now they are doing.

VID will be a temporary, revocable 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number, according to the UIDAI. “Last digit of the VID is the checksum using ‘Verhoeff’ algorithm as in Aadhaar number. There will be only one active and valid VID for an Aadhaar number at any given time,” the UIDAI said in a statement. Verhoeff algorithm is a checksum formula for error detection developed by the Dutch mathematician Jacobus Verhoeff.

“VID, by design being temporary, cannot be used by agencies for de-duplication. VID is revocable and can be replaced by a new one by Aadhaar number holder after the minimum validity period set by UIDAI policy,” the authority added.

The UIDAI will start accepting VID from March 1, 2018. From June 1, 2018 it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept Virtual ID from their users, it added.

Since the time Government made it mandatory to link the Aadhaar Card number for availing various Governmental services, many people started opposing this step citing privacy concerns. According to them, this was compromising the personal information. Due to this deadline for linking Aadhaar with essential facilities has been repeatedly getting postponed. The current deadline for linking Aadhaar with multiple utilities is March 31, 2018.

What more can be achieved by Aadhaar Card number ?

◾️Civil Aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey recently said in an interview that the ministry of civil aviation is likely to create template document needed for introducing an Aadhaar-based system at airports by the end of January 2018, which will also be approved by security agencies. Once the process is complete, airports in the country will be permitted to adopt biometric readers and other technology vendors to introduce the system. He also said that a database that talks freely between airports, airlines and Aadhaar authorities—is already being looked into, he further said.

It would be major breakthrough in sense of safety, and using a forged document to travel would be past thing. After this facilitation, biometric verification will ensure the travelers identity and reduce the hazards of physically carrying various government documents. There has been massive work going on in this front.

◾️The UPSRTC (Uttar Pradesh State Board Transport Corporation) has decided to provide the free ride in UP to the disabled travelers who are carrying Aadhaar Card.

◾️Starting 2018 session, Anna University of Coimbatore has made the submission of Aadhaar and PAN number mandatory, during the affiliation inspection. This order will prohibit the faulty members to work in more than one private engineering college at a time.

The university has made it mandatory from this following year. The faculties should link Aadhaar or PAN with the bank account. In fact, the medical council of India has also amended it for its faculty. With this tracking of faculty members would be easy process.

List is still not complete, just think of the wonders, if the Aadhaar card would be an electronic card, it would be something that we can swipe the Electronic Aadhaar Card at designated kiosk and get the necessary information, this will simply ensure the security and tracking of citizens easy, which in long term, will also reduce the crime rate. The only concern, the UIDAI needs to keep in mind to leave no loop holes in Aadhaar database and its authentication channel.

Leaving apart all controversies attached to the Aadhaar card, this is very much needed for a true Digital India.

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