Aadhaar: a unique ID number for all

Mouvement de main

The Aadhaar program assigns a unique 12-digit identification number to all residents of India, with security ensured by the person's biometric data (fingerprints, iris and facial recognition, etc.). What this means is that all citizens and eligible residents enjoy the fundamental right to recognition, and can receive numerous services: social benefits, medical care, opening a bank account, etc. Safran is one of the major contributors to this program.

Rue en Inde
Femme se faisant scanner les empreintes digitales par un appareil Morpho

Multibiometric census

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It's my turn next. Just ten more minutes to wait, and then I'll finally be able to carry out my latest plan.

Kushal can't help smiling. This 21-year old student arrived at his neighborhood enrollment center in Delhi early this morning. Once he learned about the Aadhaar program, he didn't hesitate a minute.

Kushal, it's your turn.

The representative of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) jots down his name, age and address.

Then he records images of both irises in just a second, using the Morpho IAD device.

The young man then puts each of his hands on MorphoTop, an optical fingerprint reader.

The last step: a photo of his face.

of irises by

Morpho IAD

reads fingerprints

Aadhaar is the world's largest biometric identification program. Each day, a million Indians over 15 years old voluntarily come to one of these centers to be enrolled.

Unprecedented computing power

Kushal's biometric data is sent to the UIDAI's central database, where it is first "deduplicated" to make sure he hasn't already been enrolled.

In concrete terms, that means his data is compared to all biometric data (iris and fingerprints) already recorded – a daunting challenge for any computer system, but this one is up to the task.

The system then creates a unique ID number associated with Kushal's biometric data, and sends it to a government agency that officially assigns it to the young student. Whenever he needs this number for a service, his identify will be authenticated by a biometric sensor.


Aadhaar digital identities generated
(April 2016)

persons enrolled by 2017

17 %
of the global population

A bank account: making dreams come true

Two weeks later Kushal receives a letter with his ID number on a card.

With this magic card, he can now open a bank account. Before, opening an account was very complicated, but the Aadhaar number turns it into child's play.

Jeune homme finissant son enrolement Aadhaar
Jeunes amis en Inde

And a bank account means that the government can send his healthcare reimbursements and other benefit payments directly into his account. Which means that Kushal can also start a savings account to continue his education, and perhaps even take out a loan for a promising project.

Looking further ahead, if his project pans out, Kushal is already considering a trip abroad. And that will be possible through the passport he can receive… by simply passing his fingers over a fingerprint reader.