Siddharth Sekhar Singh and Ashwini ChhatreDownload PDF
- The average Aadhaar authentication failure rate for Andhra Pradesh’s Public Distribution System in December 2017 was 2.5%.
- There was significant geographic dispersion in the failure rate. In particular, YSR Kadapa (5.2%) and Vizianagaram (5.1%) had the highest failure rates.
- In absolute numbers, 94,030 ration cards failed Aadhaar authentication in December 2017.
- East Godavari district had highest number of failures (14,307).
- Biometric mismatch is the leading cause of the authentication failure in the state, accounting for 92% of the authentication failures.
- 5,264 ration cards were found to fail authentication both in November and December 2017.
The Public Distribution System (PDS) in Andhra Pradesh uses Aadhaar to authenticate the identity of its beneficiaries. The authentication takes place at the Fair Price Shop (FPS), wherein an individual eligible to receive subsidized food grains is required to furnish proof of possession of a ration card and must undergo biometric-based Aadhaar authentication.
The focus of this study is to examine the fingerprints-based Aadhaar authentication of ration card holders in Andhra Pradesh for the first fortnight of December 2017.
The Aadhar authentication attempts for 3.77 M ration cards were made in Andhra Pradesh’s PDS between 1st and 16th December 2017. Out of these, 94,030 ration cards failed Aadhaar authentication. The highest number of authentication failures occurred in the East Godavari district, with 14,307 authentication failures. The average authentication failure rate for the state (of all active cards) was 2.5%. Failure rates for YSR Kadapa (5.2%) and Vizianagarm (5.1%) were more than twice the state’s average.
Several reasons for failure of biometric-based authentication include biometric mismatch, invalid Aadhaar number, invalid biometric status, and missing biometric data in Central Identity Data Repository (CIDR) etc. Among these, around 92% of the authentication failures were caused due to biometric mismatch, placing it as the leading cause of Aadhaar authentication failure in the state. Interestingly, the study of distribution of failures at the sub-district (mandal) level suggests that the number of authentication failures are not tightly correlated with the number of ration cards.
Biometric mismatch could occur due to number of factors, including improper collection of biometrics during authentication, foreign material on finger or the surface of scanner, low finger image quality etc. The current error reporting mechanism adopted by UIDAI does not clearly specify which of these factors caused biometric mismatch resulting in repetitively failed authentication attempts by the beneficiaries. Improvements in the authentication error reporting mechanism is therefore suggested, so that the resident can know clearly the exact reason for the authentication failure.
Further, given the high prevalence and uniform geographic spread of biometric mismatch, a more detailed study of this cause of failure is required. One possible solution to bring down the number of biometric mismatches could be to make best finger detection (BFD) compulsory for all the eligible beneficiaries. BFD is a methodology of identifying the finger(s) of a resident with the best biometric details, done using BFD Application programming Interface (API) provided by UIDAI.
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