India and Unique Identification Number

I think this blog is inappropriate for discussing, India and UID project (Unique Identification Number). I recently had look at Mr. Nadan interview on NDTV about this project, despite his public saying it seems people are still confused with “ID Card” and “Unique Identification Number”. Again I’ll repeat UID is NOT an ID Card its just an identification number which will go to your various documents like Birth certificate, voter ID card, Pan Card etc.

Concept of national ID is not new US have got defacto SSN (Social Security Number), in Poland there is PESEL (personal identification number) which drastically reduce paper work, for example In India, when you go to open a bank account they ask you to bring an “identity proof” ha! I need to prove who I am. It’s rediculous but thats the way things works in India. If you’re aware how to twists paper work then you can even get 10 credit cards in India.

Idea of UID is a watchdog on citizen activities and bring poor people a bit near. Now, how it’s going to help poor people, though I was quite skeptic initially that its going to benefit poor and as I can see here in Europe, I think it’d really help poor if its easy to get this number. The fundamental advantage of UID is that you don’t have to prove who you are to various institution e.g banks, tax authorities, immigration authorities etc.

Estonia is first country which connected its UniqueID and ID cards to an OpenID. For those who are not aware of OpenID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenID ) its an authorization process specially for web but can be extended to other application. Let me explain you in simple words say you have a Gmail account and all Gmail Accounts have issued a unique ID which is a URL (https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/ud) so now if you comes to a website which accepts OpenID and if you provide your uniqueID URL then it’ll authenticate you from OpenID provider in this case Google.

It would be great if India UniqueID will be OpenID enabled. Estonia has successfully implemented national ID – OpenID connection. If you are XYZ ABC with an Estonian UID 42004010123456 then your OpenID is https://openid.ee/e/xyz.abc.42004010123456 (https://openid.ee/e/name.surname.uid)

Biometric is really cool and we should do in this way but more things are happening around us, in order to bring egovernence to common citizen OpenID is an open platform for both government and non government world. I hope Mr. Nandan have already thought about it.

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2 comments

  1. The idea of a central and accessible identity always sounds scary, particularly when you know that the government isn’t particularly good at keeping it safe. promoting the concept to every legal and valid citizen of India would be very difficult. Moreover, the red tape involved can make losing an identity very tough for anybody.

    what good is an endeavor like estonia’s?

  2. you said
    “Idea of UID is a watchdog on citizen activities and bring poor people a bit near. Now, how it’s going to help poor people, though I was quite skeptic initially that its going to benefit poor and as I can see here in Europe, I think it’d really help poor if its easy to get this number. The fundamental advantage of UID is that you don’t have to prove who you are to various institution e.g banks, tax authorities, immigration authorities etc.”

    abt 80% of indians earn Rs 20 or less per day. how does being able to prove who u r to banks, tax authorities, immigration authorities etc help them.

    if it is easy to get “10 credit cards” right now, how will u insure that it is not possible to get 10 identification numbers? how will this system root out corruption issues?

    is it really justified to spend ~1 lakh crore rupees on this?


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