The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), responsible for processing and storing the biometric data of individuals across the country, has reportedly mixed up the data of upto 1.9 crore Indians.
Quoting senior sources at the UIDAI, the New Indian Express reported that the officials have been erroneously used one family member’s biometric data for another since the Unique Identification campaign started, to meet government-mandated data collection goals.
The Scale of the Problem
In order to meet targets, some enrolling agencies used biometrics of accompanying relatives if they were not able to register the biometric data of the person who was getting enrolled.UIDAI sources to the New Indian Express
“Ramifications of this are emerging now as some people are facing problems to avail Aadhaar-linked essential services”.
An internal communication circulated among members of the body recently estimated that 1-1.5 percent of all enrolments in the Aadhaar program over the last seven years have had their data incorrectly added, or exchanged with a relative. These cases make their unique ID unusable in claiming basic services or benefits that the government has tied directly to the program.
As such, between 2 to 3 lakh people in Delhi and 20 to 30 lakh in Uttar Pradesh, all adding up to 1.3 and 1.9 crore people nationally, are affected by this error in data management by the UIDAI, according to enrolment numbers.
Remedying the Errors
The only method of correcting these muddled details is for the Aadhaar holder to themselves report an inaccuracy between their own biometric data and the one entered in their unique ID. The difference is only noticed when the Aadhaar card is used and has been found to disproportionately affect people in rural areas trying to claim benefits from government schemes via their Aadhaar cards.
Such data is only being flagged on an individual case by case basis, and The New Indian Express reported that the Karnataka Centre for E-Governance manages about 450 complaints a month regarding the issue of mixed-up biometric data.
This is in contrast to the UIDAI claiming it has identified the affected identities and is holding camps in various states to rectify the errors en masse.