Needs Less Tech, More Jugaad

Mark Rockwell | FCW | October 18, 2013

Operators of the beleaguered website could take a few hints from Hindu lore and eastern philosophy to fix things, according to two of the architects of the world's most massive national ID system.

FCW discussed the's startup problems with Srikanth Nadhamuni, formerly the technology head of India's Aadhaar national biometric identification system, and Raj Mashruwala, who headed up the biometrics development on the project.

They said simplicity is the key to scalability -- and service-level agreements don't hurt either.'s creators have faced blistering criticism since its Oct. 1 launch, for drastically underestimating the traffic the site would attract and for the difficulty the site has had in providing even the most basic functionality to users.

In contrast, India's Aadhaar system -- arguably the most ambitious biometric identification and public welfare network ever undertaken by a national government -- is successfully obtaining and storing voluntary fingerprint and iris scans from all of India's 1.2 billion people with the aim of straightening out tangled welfare payments throughout the country.