The Indian Government has completed issuing 56 crore unique ID numbers under Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric-based ID initiative, all set to complete its mandate of covering 60 crore citizens in the coming weeks.

The Unique Identification Authority of India – the agency in charge of implementing this massive project – is currently generating around 1.5 – 1.6 million ID numbers per day. Established as an Attached Office of the Planning Commission, through a Government Notification in January 2009, the UIDAI issued the first Aadhaar Number on 29th September 2010, after completing necessary preliminaries including establishing various standards relating to collection of data and biometric information such as finger prints and iris images.

Meanwhile with the help of the Aadhaar ID cards, the Chief Rationing Officer’s (CRO) Unit in Hyderabad has been able to eliminate around 64,000 fake ration cards since July 2012. Ration cards enable low-income families to purchase goods such as wheat, rice, kerosene and sugar at subsidised prices from the Public Distribution Network.

Since 2012 information on ration card holders has been collected online through two databases, Electronic Public Distribution System (EPDS) and Electronic Point of Service (EPOS). They help ensure that each citizen is able to enrol for only one ration card.

Officials from CRO are now able to match information on ration cards with Aadhaar cards to eliminate duplicate ration cards. EPOS and EPDS began as pilot projects by the CRO in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre.


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