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Aadhaar: How to get your unique ID from govt of India

India's ambitious Unique ID project dubbed "Aadhaar", which aims to give every Indian citizen a unique number mapped to biometrics, was launched on Wednesday in the Nadurbar district of Maharashtra. The Technoholik.com team got a sneak peek at the UIDAI (Unique ID Authority of India) tech centre in Bangalore, to tell you everything you need to know about the enrolment process.

The setup
The enrollment officer (EO) sits at right angles to you and enters data into a laptop. The insight of the Aadhaar team here is that the person getting enrolled must see what is being entered. Thus there's a monitor in front of you, which mirrors the enrolment officer's screen so that you can point out spelling mistakes or other errors. If the person getting enrolled is illiterate, he or she can nominate someone to accompany and verify. There's a small laser printer behind the EO's laptop and a webcam, fingerprint reader and iris scanner account for the remainder of the hardware setup. Unless, of course, you count the light bulb hanging from the ceiling and a white "roll-up" chart behind you for the "passport photo studio" effect!

Compulsory information
Name (first and last name compulsory but middle name optional), Gender (Male/Female/Transgender) and Date of Birth are the compulsory fields. Whereas postal address is also required, it's more for the sake of mailing your UID number than strictly being a proof of residence. The EO asks you for a PIN code and the city/district fields are automatically populated. The rest of the address is entered manually.

Supporting documents
The UID team acknowledges the fact that a large number of people may not have any supporting documents to prove their identity. In this case, one is allowed to bring another resident who is already in possession of an Aadhaar number to be an "introducer" by vouching for the person seeking to enroll. Of course, there is scope for fraud either with a colluding introducer or by just using fake supporting documents. However, the whole point of Aadhaar is that one can only fake one's identity once and this prevents large-scale "ghost identity" creation, which is the bane of most Indian government schemes. The great PAN (Permanent Account Number with the Income Tax department) card scam after all involved a single person creating thousands of different PAN numbers.

A photograph is taken of the person getting enrolled, purely for the purpose of printing it out on the enrolment receipt, so that illiterate residents have some way of knowing that the receipt indeed belongs to them. Beyond that, the photograph serves no biometric or authentication purpose.

First there's an iris scan where you look into a binocular-like device held up to your eyes by the EO. After that it's the four fingers of each hand, followed by both thumbs (a process familiar to those entering the US) for your 10 fingerprints.

The wait
The EO makes you review the data entered one final time before giving you a laser-printed receipt. Whereas the residents of Tembhali, the "Aadhaar village", were to get their numbers today, the rest of us won't be that lucky. We'll only get to walk away with our receipts and have to wait for the actual number to be delivered by India Post!


Understand the moon phases to predict when the new lunar month begins

There has been a lot of confusion about the Eid-u-Fitr 2010. Will it happen on the friday 10, September or the following saturday the 11th?

The answer is very simple if one understand the moon phases below.

Date: Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Date: Thursday, September 09, 2010
Click image to see and read picture image clearly

Comments by MCW member for moonsighting.com for India
  • Not Seen: Iqbalhusen Bokda (MCW member) from Gujrat reported: Moon has not been seen here in Gujarat as weather is cloudy in the whole state. It has not been seen in almost al parts of India as our friends informed. I tried to contact to Bihar,Bengal, UP and other states, but report is negative.
  • Not Seen (cloudy): Mohammed Mohsin Khan (MCW member) from Mumbai reported: Today Thursday 09 September 2010 / 29 Ramadaan 1431 in India. Here in Mumbai Sunset was at 06:47 p.m LT and Moonset was at 07:19 pm LT. Sky was cloudy hence Crescent has not been sighted in Mumbai City and in most Parts of India . Official Moon-Sighting Committee have officially announced that Friday 10 September 2010 will be 30 Ramadaan 1431 and Saturday 11 September 2010 will be 1st Shawwal 1431 (EID-ul-Fitr) in India. EID Mubarak to All Muslims.
  • Seen: Mazhar Pallumirah (MCW member) from Chennai reported: On 9th September 2010, although the Shawal moon was not seen in chennai/india due to cloudy sky, but in costal towns like Thuthukodi the new moon was sighted. Based on this, Eid-fitr decalared here on 10th september 2010.