Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) plan to offer a unique identification number (UID) to every resident Indian is slated to get a fillip, with the country’s largest life insurer — Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) — saying it is ready to offer unique identification cards to its policyholders. About a year ago, LIC had signed an agreement with UIDAI to share its database of over 200 million policyholders with the government agency and issue biometric cards to these policyholders.
LIC was the first institutional partner in the Aadhaar project, a national project aimed at building a secure, reliable and centralised repository of data. However, till recently, the progress was slow, since the insurer was scouting for technology partners to make the biometric cards. Till date, LIC has issued 30,000 cards to policyholders on a pilot basis. “We have roped in CMC as the technology partner for the project. The national roll-out will happen very soon now,” said LIC Managing Director A K Dasgupta. Senior LIC officials said the insurer planned to issue biometric cards to 50 million people every year for the next four years. The insurer has set a target of issuing 40 million cards this year, the cost for which is estimated at Rs.200 crore, or Rs.50 per card. LIC also expects to expand its business through the Aadhaar project, especially in rural areas. “Through this project, LIC would be able to tap a greater number of people in rural areas. Since this card will act as a proof of identity, it would be much easier for us to fulfil the know-your-customer requirements. We will also be able to revisit our policyholders through this process. This would allow us to upgrade our existing records and expand business further,” Dasgupta said.
LIC aims to become the largest issuer of Aadhaar cards in the coming years, since its clients outnumber members of other government agencies like Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, which has 42 million employees as its members. LIC would initially issue biometric Aadhaar cards to its own policyholders and then gradually, expand the issuance to individuals who don’t hold LIC policies. “Besides existing policyholders, we would also issue cards to their family and friends. This gives us an opportunity to expand our policyholder base,” said a senior LIC official. The unique identification project was conceived by the Planning Commission as an initiative to provide identification to resident Indians. This would provide a basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. Nandan Nilekani, cofounder of Infosys Technologies, heads the project. UIDAI is currently reported to be issuing 100,000 cards a day. The first Aadhaar card was issued in September 2010 to a tribal woman, Ranjna Sadashiv Sonwane, from Tembhali village in Nandurbar, Maharashtra