Coalition for Aadhaar: A collective of private companies wants to ensure that Aadhaar ID and related services continue to be offered

This is a set of entities outside the govt sector, which includes private companies who believe in Aadhaar and its ability to have a positive impact

The Supreme Court of India is hearing the legal challenges to the Aadhaar identification project case this week. While there are a lot of critics of the world's largest biometric authentication program, there are a group of private companies which have appealed to the Supreme Court for the continued usage of Aadhaar.

Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

One of the two groups that have filed a petition with the Supreme Court is called 'Coalition for Aadhaar'.

This is a set of entities outside the government sector which includes private companies who believe in Aadhaar and its ability to positively impact Indian society.

"We are comprised of several companies — such as Aadhaar authentication eKYC user agencies (AUA/KUAs) as well as Sub-AUAs and eKYC agencies that use Aadhaar for myriad innovative and useful purposes that have the residents of India as the ultimate beneficiaries. Our sectors of operation include fintech, background verification and digital lending, rental companies amongst others," said Saranya Gopinath, the spokesperson for the group.

According to her, this coalition is a group of private companies which believe that Aadhaar is a useful service and offers an ID which can deliver several useful services.

"We believe Aadhaar brings convenience, a choice to people, economic growth and productivity. And that all of these things can be done while maintaining privacy and security," said Gopinath.

The idea behind the formation of the coalition was to ensure that Aadhaar services continue to be offered, now that the legal challenges are being heard by the SC. According to Gopinath, the convenience offered by Aadhaar and the people's sense of privacy can both co-exist.

But when asked about the multiple questions being raised about the data breaches surrounding Aadhaar data collection and storage, Gopinath says that the 'Coalition for Aadhaar' stands for the rigorous implementation of security and the privacy of people's data.

"We are not opposed to the questions being raised about privacy and security since it will keep the system and users vigilant," said Gopinath.

One of the major benefits for a lot these companies is using Aadhaar eKYC for authentication services. According to a report in The Economic Times, around 300 private companies use Aadhaar eKYC. This process cuts down the costs of traditional KYC processes by a huge fraction.

"We also want to highlight that small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and startups, the backbone of an economy, are using Aadhaar in myriad innovative ways in fintech, identity verification and digital lending sectors — just to name a few," said Gopinath.

Membership for the 'Coalition for Aadhaar' is not limited to the first 50 companies which have come together to form it.

According to Gopinath, any private company which feels that Aadhaar is beneficial for providing services to people is welcome to join the coalition. To join, they will simply need to drop a mail to coalitionforaadhaar@gmail.com.

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