Some 5000 techies, tech enthusiasts, students, and professional hackers from all across India participated in the Aadhaar hackathon to come up with brilliant new uses for the Aadhaar card.
From helping you get your driving licence without standing in a queue to ensuring that no one impersonates you when taking an exam, the simple Aadhaar card can revolutionize identity verification in ways you cannot imagine.
Got your Aadhaar card? Is it safely tucked among the many other cards in your wallet, not to be used until you have to show an ID proof in a train? Or sometime when you need an LPG connection, maybe?
The Aadhaar card was introduced with a view towards Indians having just one card with a Unique Identification (UID) number, which would serve as proof of identity and address all over India. These UID numbers, along with individual biometrics, are saved in a central database.
While for many of us getting the Aadhaar card is just a compulsory procedure to be followed in order to have an alternative form of identification, in the eyes of over 5000 techies, tech enthusiasts, students, and professional hackers from all across India, the online Aadhaar hackathon was an opportunity to use technology to create wonders.
Photo source: Wikipedia
And wonders are exactly what came out of this two-day competition. Earlier this month, over 1600 teams participated in a hackathon to come up with some very innovative ideas developed around the Aadhaar card. Here are five of those ideas, which demonstrate how easy having the card can make daily life activities.
But before we move forward, a quick look at how a hackathon works (for those of us who have a hard time understanding technology and the minds of tech lovers).
How it works – The teams in the event were required to build products around the themes of payments, productivity, government benefits, financial services, fast moving consumer goods, and healthcare. The aim was to prove the successful use of the Aadhaar APIs (Application Program Interface), which were already provided to the contestants. These APIs included information such as biometric authentication, biometric eKYC, and demographic authentication, among others. Hence, in simple words, using one or more of these existing Aadhaar APIs, developers had to build their own products.
And here is a glimpse of the brilliant results.
Photo only for represention – Flickr
1. True Scholar: This was the winning app, and a completely deserving one at that. All the students out there who are planning a Munna Bhai MBBS kind of stunt to make a professor sit for their next online examination, beware! With this app, Anantha Padmanabha from Bangalore will surely not let anyone do that. By using the Aadhaar API for verification of identity, this app can prevent impersonation during exams. Additionally, it provides a central database for exam results and online registrations for examinations.
2. Aadhaarical: Not carrying around a bundle of all your car related documents might soon be commonplace. With this innovative app which received the 2nd place in the competition, people can drive around without those documents and a complete verification, if required, is possible via the Aadhaar card itself, in real time. Along with this, a list of other uses follows – it provides for easier reporting of vehicle theft, car towing notification, can help track missing vehicles, and can also be useful in challan issuance. The team members who came up with this idea include Pankaj Chhabra, Supriya Saini, Ishrat Khan, and Sachin Arora from Delhi.
3. Aadhaaric Licence: This one basically helps people obtain their driving licences without going through those long queues and endless waits – a hassle free online procedure using just an Aadhaar card. The team members include Sumanyu Soniwal, Shubham Gupta, and Soubhik Saha. Sumanya, who is very happy with the thought that the government is taking up such initiatives to contribute towards technological advancement, says the app will make the verification process a lot easier.
4. Samaadhaar: This app, by a team from Bangalore, has been built with the aim of connecting people who do not have access to the internet across India, to products and service providers – it is basically a social marketplace for non-internet users. With just an Aadhaar card – Dawar Dedmari, Brijesh Masrani, Mahendra Liya and Manan Saleem Beg – plan on taking the market to places where the internet cannot reach.
A total of 11 such ideas were shortlisted for the final presentation at the hackathon, which was conducted by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), in collaboration with venture capital fund AngelPrime, tech firm HackerEarth, and IT industry body Nasscom.
As for how these apps and ideas will help in the real word, Pramod Varma, chief architect of technology to UIDAI, told The Hindu – “If the idea is sticky enough, they will get support from a network of investors, mentors and industry experts to convert these ideas into start-ups.”
Similarly, Sanjay Swamy, Managing Partner, AngelPrime, is of the view that, “Many of the participants will convert these innovations into business opportunities like start-ups and they may even get absorbed in private tech firms as products.”
Given the excitement that was evident in the voice of one of the participants, Sumanya, it is clear that such initiatives should not only be sustained but should be taken to the farthest corners of the country where bright minds are looking for just a single opportunity to create ripples of innovation and change.