Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI has unveiled the beta version of the much-awaited Virtual ID and promised that service providers will soon start accepting the same in lieu of Aadhaar number.
Put simply, the new feature will allow Aadhaar holders to quote their Virtual ID (VID) number without actually disclosing the 12-digit Aadhaar number for authentication or verification purposes. According to UIDAI, in the beta form, users can generate their Virtual ID and use it to update the address in Aadhaar online for the time being.
In a recent tweet, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) urged the users to generate their VIDs and give a link to Aadhaar website for the same.
“…Soon, service providers will start accepting VID in place of Aadhaar number. For now, you can use this for online address update in your Aadhaar.”
In January this year, UIDAI announced plans to introduce Virtual ID’ feature which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual biometric ID.
The VID, which is a random 16-digit number mapped to a person’s Aadhaar number, together with biometrics of the user would give any authorised agency like a mobile company, limited details such as name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification. The VID effectively gives the users, the option of not sharing Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.
UIDAI had stated that it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept the Virtual ID from their users from June 1, 2018.
The launch of VID comes at a time when the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act and the use of a biometric identifier in various government and non-government services.
UIDAI’s Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey last month made a presentation in the apex court to defend the government’s ambitious Aadhaar scheme.