The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) is set to become the first educational campus in the country to function through unique identification (UID) numbers.
The UID-enabled campus will work towards making a cashless environment where all transactions from buying a notebook to a parantha in the canteen will be done through UID numbers and biometric (fingerprint) authentication.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a government agency headed by Nandan Nilekani, former co-chairman of Infosys Technologies, is working towards providing a unique 12-digit number called Aadhaar to all Indians. The IIT-B initiative will be a pilot project that will test if a cashless environment, where all transactions are via e-payments with biometric identification, is sustainable.
“UIDAI has associated with IIT-B for this pilot project. The first phase of enrollments has just been completed with more than 8,000 of the 16,000 residents on campus having registered. Everyone on campus should get their Aadhaar numbers by the end of the year,” said professor Ashish Das, who is steering the initiative at IIT-B.
The project will involve testing micro-ATMs that will be installed on campus where one can transact using the Aadhaar-enabled payment system that will need a thumbprint for biometric identification.
“Currently, transactions through a credit or debit card are authenticated either by a signature or by a personal identification number (PIN). A thumbprint will make transactions more secure.,” said Das. He added that if the biometric authentication is found to be successful, the Reserve Bank of India too will take a call to adopt it in 15 months.
The IIT-B campus was chosen for the pilot project as it has a large population that is comfortable with the e-payment mode.