New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) accused the Moody's Investor Service of making sweeping assertions against Aadhaar, without citing any evidence or basis, while asserting that its Aadhaar is the most trusted digital ID in the world.
Over the last decade, over a billion Indians have expressed their trust in Aadhaar by using it to authenticate themselves over 100 billion times. To ignore such an unprecedented vote of confidence in an identity system is to imply that the users do not understand what is in their own interest, a statement from the UIDAI said.
No data or research to support statements-The Authority said the Moody's report did not cite either primary or secondary data or research in support of the opinions presented in it. The UIDAI accused Moody's of not making any attempt to ascertain facts from the Authority regarding the issues raised in the report. "The sole reference cited in the report is in respect of the UIDAI, by referring to its website. However, the report incorrectly cites the number of Aadhaars issued as 1.2 billion, although the website prominently gives the updated numbers," it said.
MGNREGS reference- Moody's report has averred that use of biometric technologies results in service denials for manual laborers in India’s hot, humid climate, an obvious reference to India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
Moody’s report on Aadhaar says the system's authentication faces hurdles as it often results in service denials, and the reliability of biometric technologies, especially for manual labourers in hot, humid climates, and is questionable. #UIDAI #Aadhaar https://t.co/EOGn2xrGs0— ETV Bharat (@ETVBharatEng) September 26, 2023
The UIDAI said "the seeding of Aadhaar in the MGNREGS database has been done without requiring the worker to authenticate using their biometrics, and that even payment to workers under the scheme is made by directly crediting money in their account and does not require the worker to authenticate using their biometrics."
The report, the UIDAI said, has ignored that biometric submission is also possible through contactless means like face authentication and iris authentication. In addition, the option of mobile OTP is also available in many use cases.
No breach on Aadhaar database- As regards to security and privacy vulnerabilities in a centralised Aadhaar system, the UIDAI said it has has repeatedly disclosed to the Parliament that till date no breach has been reported from Aadhaar database. According to the UIDAI, the Parliament has laid down robust privacy protections in the law governing the Aadhaar system, which are complied with through robust technological and organisational arrangements.
State-of-the-art security solutions- The agency said it has employed state-of-the-art security solutions besides having a federated database and encryption of data both at rest and in motion. The systems in use have international security and privacy standards certifications - ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security Management System and ISO 27701:2019 for Privacy Information Management System, the Authority said.
The G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) report of the World Bank said “the implementation of DPIs such as Aadhaar (a foundational digital ID system), along with the Jan Dhan bank accounts, and mobile phones, is considered to have played a critical role in moving ownership of transaction accounts from approximately one-fourth of adults in 2008 to over 80 percent now—a journey that it is estimated could have taken up to 47 years without DPIs”.
India's moot of global Aadhaar welcomed at G20- According to the Authority, Aadhaar is the foundational Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) of the India stack and has been welcomed by the recent G20 New Delhi Declaration in the G20 Framework for Systems of Digital Public Infrastructure, a voluntary and suggested framework for the development, deployment and governance of DPI. It also welcomed India’s plan to build and maintain a Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR), a virtual repository of DPI, voluntarily shared by G20 members and beyond.