With the Narendra Modi-led NDA government showing support for the continuing of Unique Identification Authority of India (Aadhaar) project, several stakeholders in the Indian software product ecosystem have come forward to encourage developers to building Aadhaar-enabled applications.
Among others, information technology (IT) industry body Nasscom, and startup incubators Khosla Labs and AngelPrime have decided to hold hack-a-thons where engineers would be required to write codes using Aadhaar's open-source application programming interface (API).
The first such hack-a-thon would happen on December 6, 2014, at Khosla Labs, which has been founded by serial entrepreneur and investor Vinod Khosla. Interestingly, the Bangalore-based Khosla Labs is currently headed by Srikanth Nadhamuni, who was the brain behind the technology at UIDAI.
Around 50 engineers will be allowed to participate in the hack-a-thon.
The next such hack-a-thon would be held at AngelPrime, which was set up by Sanjay Swamy, Shripati Acharya and Bala Parthasarthy, who were earlier working on the Aadhaar project under the leadership of Nandan Nilekani.
Nasscom would be a co-sponsor for both these event, and will also look at organising more such hack-a-thons.
Since its inception 2009, Aadhaar has been mandated as the proof of identity and address for myriad by the government for various services such as obtaining new passports, mobile numbers, opening bank accounts etc. In the private sector, several companies are using Aadhaar's biometrics for their attendance system.
The online authentication platform built by UIDAI is also being used by both the government as well as private sector. Through its direct benefits transfer project, the government is using Aadhaar to authenticate the correct beneficiaries and eliminate fakes and duplicates from the system.
In the private sector, banks and other agencies which have linked to UIDAI are using it to authenticate transactions as well as users.
The electronic KYC which is a paperless model of verifying the identity of a user is expected to save banks and telecom companies significant cost in keeping and checking physical copies of documents submitted by the consumers. Currently, UIDAI's online authentication services are free. The authority has enrolled 700 million residents of the country out of its total mandate of covering one billion by next year.