THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 28 December 2018 (The numbers don’t add up)

The numbers don’t add up

Mains Paper 3: Governance
Prelims level: UIDAI
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


  •  We have 29 states and seven union territories (UT), which together have 707 districts, about six lakh villages and 5,000 cities, and a total population of about 130 crore as on date.
  •  In order to issue Aadhaar numbers, the UIDAI appointed 167 registrars or agencies including states, UTs and public sector agencies.
  •  Of the total 118 crore Aadhaar numbers issued by them as on October 30, 2017, 90 per cent of the numbers were issued by eight states and 12 public sector undertakings.
  •  The rest 147 registrars issued only 10 per cent of the numbers.
  •  This is as per the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by the assistant director general of UIDAI on October 30, 2017 in writ petition 494/2012.
  •  A query was made by a social activist under the RTI seeking information about the names and numbers of the enrollment operators appointed by all the registrars.

The UIDAI stance

  •  The UIDAI refused to furnish the information.
  •  Further, it is evident that many Aadhaar numbers have been issued without identification of persons, since the primary identities which are voter cards, pan cards, driver licences, ration cards and passports are far less than the Aadhaar numbers issued.
  •  The voter cards are 60 crore, pan cards 29 crore, driver licences 17.37 crore, ration cards 15.17 crore and passports 6.9 crore.
  •  The information given under RTI that about 99.97 per cent Aadhaar numbers have been issued by using at least two of the primary identities is, therefore, not correct.
  •  At least 58 crore Aadhaar numbers appear to have been issued without verifying two or even one primary identity document, making them suspect.
  •  The biometric data used for issuing the Aadhaar cards consists of finger prints, iris scan (eye details) and photograph manipulated.
  • k It is said that an OTP, that is the one-time password, which is a four digit number, is an alternative to the biometrics.
  •  If the mobile number is not registered, one cannot get an OTP.
  •  If it is registered and later gets changed but the new number is not registered with UIDAI, the old number continues to be circulated by the distributor and it remains in circulation.

Way forward

  •  The possibility that Aadhaar numbers can be misused is not theoretical.
  •  The accounts in banks increased from 70 crore in April 2010 to 120 crore in April 2014 and deposits during the said period from Rs 45 lakh crore to Rs 80 lakh crore.
  •  On the basis of Aadhaar numbers, and since September 2011, the bank accounts have been permitted to be opened also online, and without any restrictions.
  •  Reports in October 2017 pointed out that LPG subsidy of about Rs 167.8 crore due to 37.21 lakh consumers, was deposited in bogus Airtel Bank Accounts, without the knowledge of the consumers.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to DigiLocker, consider the following statements:
1. It is a digital platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates.
2. It provides a free storage space of 10 MB for the registered users.
3. Unique Identification Authority of India has been integrated with DigiLocker as a
registered issuer.

Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Critically Examine Is Aadhar data prone to misuse?