The Unique Identification Authority of India, an organization that assigns ID numbers to the country’s poor to help them obtain social services, is starting to give corporate access to its database.
ICICI Bank Ltd. and State Bank of India are the first two companies allowed to receive the information. They will be the first of 64 banks that will open accounts based on the biometric information in the government’s database.
According to a study by The Boston Consulting Group, nearly half of Indians don’t have a bank account. With the Authority giving access to its data, banks will able to better reach the unbanked and provide them basic financial services.
The Authority hopes to provide 600 million people with ID numbers by 2014. It has the capabilities to collect every Indian citizen’s birthdate, gender, fingerprints and iris scans but is trying to solve data storage issues surrounding this information.
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