It’s time we found alternatives of Aadhaar for digitization of business processes

Aadhaar has become a single platform without any systemic failover plans in place. And this is Aadhaar’s single point of failure.

Shiv Kumar Bhasin Mar 11th 2019 A-A+
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Amidst widespread privacy concerns and in the wake of Supreme Court’s recent judgement, Aadhaar has become the single point of failure for various business processes such as eKYC, identification and verification.

The incorporation of Aadhaar made it possible for digital banks, FinTech companies and startups to deliver excellent customer experience and made it easy to execute business processes with reliability, owing to the usage of biometric credentials. 

Added to this was the potential to bring about financial inclusion, promote of cashless or card-less transactions, propagate internet and mobile banking, and of course, enhance digital experience. 

...Digitization of artefacts would provide citizens a choice to use alternative digitally-enabled artefacts, especially for those who are concerned with the risks associated with privacy, loss of identity, or the theft of biometric credentials.
Shiv Kumar Bhasin

There was a point in time when every Indian used to be proud of the Aadhaar stack infrastructure. Governments and firms working towards financial inclusion were looking at India as an example for delivering this revolutionary infrastructure. The world lauded the country’s ability to build digitization of customer services on the Aadhaar platform. 

This resulted in the acceleration of digital transformation of sectors like financial services and telecom. Additionally, we witnessed improved citizen services and an innovation spree in customer service across all business domains.

Weakest link in the Aadhaar chain – the lack of a systemic failover plan

Aadhaar became a single platform without systemic failover plans being prepared during the digitization of e-governance and citizen services for alternate infrastructure.

We have seen PAN cards, driving licenses and passports being used for manual identification and address verification. Now consider the risk if these platforms would expose their APIs for validating the artefact, or the possibility of facial recognition data being stored within their repositories without a security protocol in place. 

Citizens’ driving licenses and passports could expose the APIs for verifying these documents from the image of these artefacts by validating built-in security measures.

What we need: Alternate infrastructure for digitization of business processes

Digitization of artefacts would provide citizens a choice to use alternative digitally-enabled artefacts, especially for those who are concerned with the risks associated with privacy, loss of identity, or the theft of biometric credentials.

A certain faction of people may question the percentage of population having these artefacts – that’s true. However, it is necessary to leverage these artefacts for digital services rather than to continue using a century-old manual process, especially because we are living in the era of RPA and AI.
Shiv Kumar Bhasin

An alternate infrastructure for digitization of business processes would provide the choice of using digitization securely and make the system more trustworthy. Also, in certain processes where two artefacts are required for ID and address proofs, having alternate digital artefacts will be helpful to digitize the wide range of banking and financial services business processes.

This would lead to making business process executions failsafe, and at the same time, continue to provide low cost digitization, and optimize the cost of business operations.

A certain faction of people may question the percentage of population having these artefacts – that’s true. However, it is necessary to leverage these artefacts for digital services rather than to continue using a century-old manual process, especially because we are living in the era of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence.

Shiv Kumar Bhasin is currently working as Chief Technology and Operations Officer with NSE, Mumbai. Prior to this, at SBI, he launched the first digital bank of India – YONO. 

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The thoughts expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing author and not of IDG Media, its editor(s). The author is not representing affiliation with his current or past organizations for the views expressed in this article.