The Indian government has announced plans to link up the ten-digit Permanent Account Number (PAN) and the sixteen digit Unique Identification Number (UID) that will soon be given to its citizens, according to a Financial Express article. The decision is coming from lengthy talks between the Finance Ministry, whom is overseeing the creation and distribution of the PAN cards, and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), whom is overseeing the UID project.
Nandan Nilekani, the UIDAI chairman, said one of the reasons it came across as a good option for the two government groups was due to both projects utilizing biometrics as its prime form of identity authentication and avoiding duplicate cards being issued to citizens. Additionally, as more than 70 million Indian citizens already have been issued PAN cards, it will create an easy starting point for the UIDAI, whom has not yet begun issuance of UID numbers.
As the proposal stands, the UIDAI will utilize the PAN card infrastructure for data collection, embed future PAN cards with the citizen’s UID number and issue letters to those already owning PAN cards containing their UID number. Additionally, as the PAN cards were planning on using more features for authentication than the UID, with the PAN cards utilizing four fingerprints and facial recognition compared to UID utilizing just fingerprints, the UID will already have the information they need from those already enrolled in the PAN card program. Nilekani expects once all new applicants have received PAN cards with UID numbers embedded, a time-frame for those with older PAN cards to migrate to ones with UID numbers embedded will be set.
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