Aadhaar issuing authority UIDAI has extended the deadline for the implementation of virtual IDs to January-end, reports Mint. Earlier this deadline was October 31st. The move comes in the wake of various organisations and departments requesting UIDAI for more time to complete the migration to the new system as they were at various stages of implementation of the virtual ID, UID token and limited e-KYC.

What is Virtual ID?

The virtual ID is a 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number which was introduced so that the actual 12-digit Aadhaar number need not be shared for authenticating identity. It can only be generated, replaced or revoked by the Aadhaar-number holder.

  • It is part of UIDAI’s initiative to reinforce the privacy of Aadhaar holders by making it more difficult for agencies to get access to the Aadhaar number.
  • Virtual ID was introduced in January this year, in the wake of an Aadhaar data breach, reported by The Tribune earlier this year.
  • The UIDAI also classified all registered authentication agencies into two groups – global and local.
  • An AUA (authentication user agency) may be a government, public or a private legal agency registered in India, which uses Aadhaar authentication services provided by the UIDAI.
  • All banks, including commercial banks, payment banks, regional banks, rural banks, cooperative banks, small finance banks, life insurance companies, housing finance companies and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), have been categorized as global AUAs.
  • Prepaid payment instruments (PPIs), non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), telecom operators and non-life insurance companies are among those classified as local AUAs.

Deadlines and extensions 

According to the original circular, all AUAs were suppose to fully migrate to the new system by June 1, 2018, “failing which their authentication services may be discontinued and financial disincentives may be imposed.”

However, the UIDAI decided to extend the deadline by one month, till July 1 on request of agencies which sought more time to switch to the new system. It then pushed its deadline to implement Aadhaar virtual ID to August 31 and then to October 31, 2018.

However, according to UIDAI’s August 30 circular, telecom companies and e-sign providers not using the upgraded systems beyond 30 July would be charged Rs 0.20 for every transaction. (eSign is an online electronic signature service that can facilitate an Aadhaar holder to digitally sign a document. Under this facility, an Aadhaar holder can sign a document after biometric/one time password authentication thus requiring no paper based application form or documents.)

The UIDAI had, in that circular, also asked local AUAs which would have limited access to Aadhaar data through a virtual ID, to delete all Aadhaar numbers in their databases by 31 December. The latest circular on extension of deadline to January-end does not provide any clarification on this.

Also read: Why the UIDAI’s introduction of virtual ID won’t really change much