The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is now rolling out the mAadhaar application for Android smartphones. The app is available as a free download on Google Play Store, and is designed to put all the Aadhaar details in your pocket. How well does the app work and does it mean anything?
For starters, you need to be sure that the mAadhaar app that you are downloading is the authentic one—look for the developer name “Unique Identification Authority of India", because there are tons of fake apps with similar names that may be waiting to pounce on the data of unsuspecting users. We struggled with the same, and any unsuspecting user surely would. At present, the app is available only for Android smartphones, and there’s no word yet on if, and when, an iOS app will be made available for Apple iPhone users.
Open the mAadhaar app, and you will be asked to set up your phone with the Aadhaar account. You are required to set this up with the phone using the same mobile number as what you have registered at the time of signing up for the Aadhaar. The app will let you check Aadhaar status, download Aadhaar, lock and unlock biometrics, generate time based passwords and more.
All seems good till now, and on paper, this seems like a very powerful app to have in your phone—considering how Aadhaar is slowly becoming rather more important in our lives than any one of us may have previously imagined. However, there are problems galore. First and foremost, there are hurdles for you to sign up. Yes, you download the app, you have the same SIM card in the phone with the number Aadhaar is registered with and it also sends you an OTP on the phone. While that OTP is automatically detected by the app, we constantly got the “Invalid OTP; please try again" error. It will take a lot of persistence (and a lot of luck) to get past this step.
UIDAI, in the app description page on the Play Store says that users can “share QR code and password protected eKYC data", essentially for activating new services that require Aadhaar verification—such as buying a new mobile connection or opening a bank account.
What must have started out as a rather noble idea of making the Aadhaar information available on our smartphones, has descended into a bit of chaos. The app, though it seems to have a lot of potential, but is quite buggy to say the least. It is clear that the app developers have a lot of work to do on making this app genuinely useable, if that is even a priority.