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UIDAI Audit: CAG Flags Several Issues in Aadhaar Card


UIDAI Audit by CAG: Relevance

  • GS 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Aadhar audit: Context

  • Recently, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report was tabled in both the Houses of Parliament, where it lists out various issues with the current Aadhaar regime.


Aadhar audit by CAG: Key points

  • The findings of the report are part of the first performance review by CAG of UIDAI, which was carried out over a four-year period between FY2015 and FY2019.

यूआईडीएआई ऑडिट: सीएजी ने आधार कार्ड में कई मुद्दों को चिन्हित किया

Aadhar audit CAG: Key findings

Privacy at risk

  • The report finds that UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) had not ensured that the client applications used by its authentication ecosystem partners were not capable of storing the personal information of the residents, thus putting the privacy of residents at risk.
  • The Aadhaar authentication ecosystem refers to agencies that often use the 12-digit ID number for applicant verification. They include banks or telecommunication companies.
  • UIDAI had also not ensured security and safety of data in Aadhaar vaults.
  • UIDAI had not independently conducted any verification of compliance to the process involved.
  • UIDAI has too much relied on the contractors and outsourcing agencies for management of biometrics.


UIDAI Audit: CAG Flags Several Issues in Aadhaar Card_3.1


Duplicate Aadhaar numbers

  • The CAG report also found that UIDAI generated Aadhaar numbers “with incomplete documents”.
  • The authority did not establish whether applicants were residing in the country with proper documents, and accepted poor quality biometrics.
  • UIDAI rules specify that a person has to have been in the country for 182 days before applying, however, the agency has no way of verifying this.


Charged people for own failures

  • UIDAI have charged people for biometric updates when poor quality data was fed in during enrolment.
  • 73% of biometric updates were voluntary updates, and UIDAI charged residents, who were not at fault.
  • CAG found that UIDAI did not take responsibility for poor quality biometrics and put the onus on the resident and charged fees for it.
  • UIDAI has no adequate arrangements with the postal department, due to which a large number of Aadhaar cards were returned to the government after they could not be delivered to their intended recipients.


UIDAI Audit: CAG Flags Several Issues in Aadhaar Card_4.1


Bal Aadhaar needs a review

  • CAG was also critical of Bal Aadhaar—an initiative to issue Aadhaar cards to children and newborns without biometrics.
  • The unique identity is not matched because it is issued on the basis of documents of parents, and after 5 years a child has to again apply for a new regular Aadhar.
  • CAG said that besides being violative of statutory provisions, UIDAI has incurred an avoidable expenditure of Rs.310 crores on Bal Aadhaar.


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