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16-digit Aadhaar to have four hidden numbers

Kirtika Suneja  |  New Delhi 

Aadhaar, or the 12-digit unique identification (UID) number that will identify the 1.2 billion residents of the country on the basis of their biometrics, will have an additional four digits that will be hidden from the common man.

“As far as people are concerned, there would only be a 12-digit number that would be relevant for their identification and use. However, we are making a provision of extra four digits that would be a post-fix for this 12-digit number for pin-based identification. So, UID will become a 16-digit number for our use and the database that we will maintain,” Ram Sewak Sharma, Director General and Mission Director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), told Business Standard.

These four digits, which the authority terms a ‘virtual number’, will change as and when the resident changes his pin number or residence. The user, however, will only use the 12-digit number allotted to him.

The first set of Aadhaars will be issued between August this year and February 2011. The authority plans to issue 600 million UIDs over the next five years.

UIDAI, which is being headed by Nandan Nilekani, has been allocated Rs 1,900 crore for the financial year 2010-11. Of this, Rs 1,300 crore will be used to enable the registrars to enrol people in the system and the remaining Rs 600 crore will be spent for setting up the information technology infrastructure.

Moreover, the 13th Finance Commission has given Rs 3,000 crore to the authority over the next five years.

“With this pin-based number, we will have two types of authentication. The first will be biometric identification using finger prints and the iris scan for 100 per cent authentication, and the second is a pin-based process for our database,” added Sharma.

UIDAI estimates total annual revenue of Rs 288 crore from authentication services in the initial stages.

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First Published: Wed, April 28 2010. 01:26 IST