Aadhaar to be made mandatory for air travel

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Tech giant Wipro recently received a directive from the government requesting the creation and development of a roll-out plan for an Aadhaar-based biometric system which could identify and authenticate the details of individuals at airports. The blueprint of the system, scheduled to be submitted for consideration in May this year, could see the installation of physical biometric scanners at airports where travelers need only use their fingerprint/retina scan to authenticate their details and travel.

While the idea of incorporating Aadhaar-based identification at airports has been in the pipeline for a while now, but a recent meeting between Aviation Minister, Jayant Sinha, Aviation Secretary, RN Choubey, and various airlines and airport authorities was the deciding factor. Chairman of the Airports Authority of India, Guruprasad Mohapatra was quoted saying, “It was felt a joint system be developed that can be replicated by all airports. Wipro has been asked to develop a concept note in this regard after consulting all stakeholders, including the JV airport operators. We are seeing what all airport processes can be made e-enabled.”

Aadhaar-based authentication process at airports

When the new system is in place, travelers will provide their Aadhaar number at the time of booking their flight tickets. Upon reaching the airport, travelers will no longer have to wait in the long queues to provide identification, they need only provide some form of biometric authentication at a terminal and continue into the airport. Currently, the only biometric data being considered is the individual’s fingerprint.

Once past the entry gates, a similar biometric authentication device will be used to complete the check-in process and generate a boarding pass.

Security concerns

Many recent cases have been reported of Aadhaar number misappropriation by a number of organizations and institutions which required their customers/subscribers to provide their Aadhaar details for registration, etc. To this end, the UIDAI has officially communicated that citizens who feel their Aadhaar information has been leaked/hacked should immediately inform the UIDAI for further processing.

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