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India Boosts R&D Activities in Deep Tech Domains

Image credit: Press Information Bureau

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Society for Electronic Transactions and Security (SETS), which is a part of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, plan to work together on research and development in the field of deep technology.

According to a press release, under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the two sides will conduct collaborative research in areas like cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) security, mobile device security, financial network slice security, and hardware security, among others.

The initiative aligns with the Make in India campaign, with the goal of enhancing self-sufficiency in information technology and cybersecurity, while also reducing the country’s dependence on exports. As part of this effort, experts and officials from both groups will join forces on research projects centred around artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology for cybersecurity. They will also focus on developing innovations in quantum security and cryptography, including quantum random number generators, crypto API libraries, and quantum-safe cryptography.

Accordingly, officers from SETS and UIDAI will propose and implement joint research projects and create tools and products that can be utilised not only within the UIDAI ecosystem but also in other critical IT infrastructures.

Emerging technologies like AI and big data are at the core of the Digital India initiative, serving as tools for good governance and forming the foundation of India’s expansive digital public infrastructure. UIDAI is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016. Aadhaar cards are 12-digit unique identification numbers linked to a citizen’s basic demographic and biometric information. The adoption of Aadhaar-based authentication transactions has been witnessing an upward trend as it has proved to be a facilitator in availing several welfare benefits and services, the government has said.

UIDAI has already issued over 1.36 billion Aadhaar numbers to residents, with more than 70 million Aadhaar-based authentication transactions taking place every day. Additionally, nearly 1,700 schemes of the central and state governments for welfare and good governance utilise Aadhaar.

As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, an in-house developed security mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication has been launched. It utilises a combination of finger minutia and finger image, which is powered by AI/ML. The technology enhances the liveness check of captured fingerprints, thereby making Aadhaar authentication transactions more secure and robust.

The new two-factor/layer authentication incorporates add-on checks to validate the genuineness (liveness) of the fingerprint to reduce fraud attempts. The initiative will be beneficial for the banking and financial sectors and telecom players and government agencies. The implementation of the new security mechanism will also aid individuals at the bottom of the pyramid by strengthening the Aadhaar-enabled payment system and preventing fraudulent attempts made by unscrupulous elements.

After several months of discussions and support provided by the UIDAI to its partners and user agencies, the new security mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication is now fully functional. The implementation of the new security mechanism has resulted in the replacement of the less secure single-factor authentication methods, which relied solely on either finger image or finger minutiae. The new system now uses a more robust two-factor authentication process, which is a positive outcome for all stakeholders involved.

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