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Aadhar rules relaxed for kids under 5 years old

Newborn and young children will no longer have to give their biometric details to get enrolled under the Aadhaar scheme, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) has decided.

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Aadhar rules relaxed for kids under 5 years old
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Newborn and young children will no longer have to give their biometric details to get enrolled under the Aadhaar scheme, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) has decided.

NITI Aayog has instead asked the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to issue Aadhar cards to children below 5 years of age even if the child's photograph is unavailable or if the child has no name.

UIDAI began attempting to capture infants' biometric details during PM Narendra Modi's regime.

What was the PM's directive, and how did UIDAI implement it?
PM Modi had last September given it a directive to ensure universal enrolment under the Aadhar scheme and to track children from birth.

Until then the UIDAI had been capturing the biometrics of children only above 6 years of age.

Translating the PM's order verbatim, the UIDAI chose Tigaon village near Faridabad in Haryana for a pilot study to enrol children from birth, and from February 23, it started enrolling them and taking their photographs.

The pilot project was to be expanded on a countrywide scale later.

What difficulties cropped up during the pilot project?
But the UIDAI's Aadhaar enrolment staff soon found themselves in practical difficulties while trying to capture an infant's photograph through a computer-attached webcam).

An infant would not hold still, and would move or burst out crying while being photographed. The resulting photograph would be too shaky to be accepted by the software application used to generate Aadhaar. The software requires sharp images.

Capturing photo biometrics of nearly every child below the age of 2 years was proving to be a challenge.

How did NITI Aayog respond?
Finally, the issue cropped up in a NITI Aayog meeting on March 16, where all stakeholder government agencies were present. It was at this meeting that it was decided that the requirement of infants' photographs served little purpose, caused considerable hardship, and should therefore be dispensed with.

Noting that photographs of newborn children are of no use, because their features are still under formation and, moreover, because newborns are hardly distinguishable from each other, NITI Aayog has asked UIDAI to explore the possibility of using birth registration number, which is also unique, to register children in Aadhaar and capture their biometric details once they attain 6 years of age.

The meeting also decided that the Registrar General of India (RGI), in consultation with the UIDAI, will explore the possibility of enrolling children at the time of birth based on their parents' biometrics.

The requirement of having the child's name could be relaxed, it was decided at the meeting; use of generic terms like Baby of (mother's name) would be allowed.

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