Centre for Internet & Society

The Standing Committee on Finance Branch, Lok Sabha Secretariat has responded to the suggestions offered by CIS on the National Identification Authority of India, Bill 2010 and has requested it to mail its views by 14 October 2011.

On January 6, 2011, CIS had sent an open letter to the Parliamentary Finance Committee demonstrating how the Aadhaar biometric standard is weaker than the SCOSTA standard. The text of the reply is reproduced below.


This is in response to one of the views/suggestions offered by CIS on the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010.

CIS View /Suggestion:


"Though the Aadhaar biometrics are useful for the de-duplication and identification of individuals, the Smart Card Operating System for Transport Application [(SCOSTA), developed by the National Informatics Centre in India)] standard is a more secure, structurally sound, and cost-effective approach to authentication of identity for India. Therefore, the Aadhaar biometric based authentication process should be replaced with a SCOSTA standard based authentication process."

In this regard, do you agree with the following view? If not, please justify.

"Comparison between SCOSTA and the UID project are not valid since SCOSTA is fundamentally a standard for smart card based authentication and does not work for the objectives of the unique id project.

The UID project follows a different approach and has multiple objectives — providing identity to residents of India, ensuring inclusion of poor and marginalized residents in order to enable access to benefits and services, eliminating the fakes, duplicates and ghost identities prevalent in other databases and provide a platform for authentication in a cost effective and accessible manner.

UIDAI is not issuing cards or smart cards. Cards can be issued by agencies that are providing services. UID authentication does not exclude smart cards — service providers can still choose to issue smart cards to their beneficiaries or customers if they want to."

You are requested to email your view by 14 October, 2011 positively.

Standing Committee on Finance Branch
Lok Sabha Secretariat

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