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RTI: Over 11 Crore Unique Health IDs issued through CoWIN under govt’s National Digital Health Mission

The RTI also potentially reveals the exact number of IDs that have been issued all over India even as the government continues to push for linking vaccine registrations with Aadhaar. 

You are reading it here first: Over 11 crore Unique Health IDs have been created through the CoWIN platform as part of the government’s National Digital Health Mission, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) revealed earlier this week in response to an RTI application filed by MediaNama.

The Ministry also said that no agencies have been empaneled for customisation, implementation, and international roll-out of CoWIN. The process for empaneling agencies for CoWIN’s international roll-out had started in July with the National Health Authority revealing earlier this month that it had shortlisted six agencies. However, it seems the process has not concluded.

As for the issuance of Health IDs, the government has been criticised for enrolling individuals into NDHM through Aadhaar-enabled vaccine registrations without informed consent. It has been reported that individuals falsely believed that Aadhaar is mandatory for authentication through CoWIN and thus, unknowingly signed up for UHIDs.

The exact number of Health IDs

While previously the MoHFW had listed a breakdown of the 11 lakh UHID’s that had been issued under its pilot project in 6 Union Territories, the response to MediaNama’s RTI potentially reveals the figure of all UHIDs issued in India, including those created under the pilot project.

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In its response, the MoHFW said that as of August 16, 11,05,42,794 Unique Health IDs have been created through the CoWIN platform, which was launched in December 2020 for COVID-19 vaccine administration and management. However, it also specifies that this was ‘additional’ to the 12,26,719 Health IDs which were issued as part of the pilot NDHM project in 6 Union Territories.

Despite MediaNama’s direct request to provide the total number of Health IDs issued since the NDHM’s launch in August 2020, the ministry did not provide the exact number. However, by summing up the figures that have been provided, the total number of Health IDs issued is 11,17,69,513.

Break up of UHIDs provided in Parliament

As per the Ministry’s revelations in Parliament, as of July 19, 2021, 11,68,226 Health IDs had been created across the 6 UTs part of the pilot. It had also provided a breakup of the IDs created in each UT-

  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands (2,14,297)
  • Lakshadweep (51,745)
  • Ladakh (76,968)
  • Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (1,39,449)
  • Puducherry (4,91,903)
  • Chandigarh (1,93,864)

“No agencies empaneled” for CoWIN’s international roll-out

The MoHFW also told MediaNama that the ministry had not empaneled any agencies so far to assist in the process of CoWIN’s international roll-out.

Earlier this month, MediaNama had reported that the MoHFW’s National Health Authority had shortlisted 6 IT firms for empanelment to provide customisation, implementation, and roll-out of CoWIN. These firms – Deloitte, PWC, KPMG, NSDL, TCS, and Trigyn technologies – were to be subject to further training and evaluation. The training was to conclude by August 6.

Government’s push to link vaccination registrations with Aadhaar

At present, according to an SOP issued by the MoHFW, either of the seven prescribed Photo IDs – Aadhaar, PAN card, Drivers License, Passport, Voter-ID, NPR Smart Card, and Pension Document with a photograph – are required to authenticate the eligibility and identity of the beneficiary. However, linking vaccination certificates and records to a Unique Health ID which is generated after vaccine registration through Aadhaar, has led the government to encourage the use of Aadhaar for vaccination registrations. As previously mentioned in some cases, it has also led to people falsely believing that Aadhaar-based authentication was mandatory to get vaccinated.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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