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Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery to the Poor in India

Tanya Gupta's picture

The poor are nameless, faceless, and therefore, powerless.  Throughout history, the act of naming is linked to power.  In 2010, the poor of India were named.  Aadhaar is a unique 12 digit identification number that can used to get social benefits from the Central Government and the State Government by Indian citizens. 

Most importantly, perhaps, direct cash benefits are supported.  The ability of the poor to withdraw their direct cash not only empowers them, but also minimizes corruption-based leakages of entitlements from the system. Moreover, the delays in receiving the money they are entitled to will also be reduced through the use of micro ATMs.  A micro ATM is basically a mobile phone with a fingerprint device for real time authentication. 

“The beneficiary has to put his finger and Aadhaar number in to the micro ATM wireless device and get the money within 8 to 9 seconds from a business correspondent after verification about the beneficiary having that much amount deposited in the bank account shown through a receipt by the device,” UIADI Director-General, Mr. R. S. Sharma, said in an interview with The Hindu

Mr. Ram Sewak Sharma, who is the Director General of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIADI), is a key driver of the identification process. He is more than familiar with technology, being a graduate of the premier technical institute of India, IIT.  This has led to a number of tech savvy features being built into Aadhaar. 

One is account level portability, which essentially means that the system does not break if the Aadhaar user changes banks.  Another is the interoperable architecture of the business correspondent network and the micro ATMs.  Multiple distribution channels that are interoperable increase options for service delivery to citizens. 

Basically you create multiple distribution channels based on interoperability (through Aadhaar) so that people have options - whether they should transact with one particular BC or any another BC - Governance Now

It is also interesting that the Government is capturing meta-data and will be using it to improve their own processes.

Finally, the most exciting news for the open data community may be that following up on India’s national data sharing policy of last year, anonymized data is being made available in the public domain in a machine readable format.  Even better, perhaps, would be if the Government also provided an API to work with this data. 

Photo credit: flickr user benoit.crouzet

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Submitted by Shomik on
It would be of great interest to understand how this technology or its variants can be viably used elsewhere. We are particularly interested in potential applications for targeting public transport subsidies. For this to work as the primary check - the biometric check would need to be almost instant. Is technology ready for that? What are the costs of doing this in a non-India like scale?

Submitted by Tanya Gupta and Abir Qasem on
We spoke with Mr. Rajesh Bansal, Assistant Director General, UIDAI Headquarters. He kindly clarified the following 1) the biometric check is almost instant - in the Aadhar case it is only 10-12 seconds 2) The technology is there today to enable quick checks 3) The costs of doing this in a non-India situation would depend on the particular factors of the new implementation.

Submitted by Aadhaar on
Aadhaar based DBT is a very good initiative from the Indian government especially for people belonging to the rural region of the country. The success of this can be observed by the huge response the scheme has received from the Indian people. We should appreciate government's efforts for this implementation.

Submitted by Aadhaar on

Aadhaar is a very good scheme from the Indian government especially for the poor people from the country. The scheme has been accepted across the country with open hearts and we should appreciate government’s efforts for such type of schemes. The launch of Aadhaar based Direct Cash Transfer scheme is an addition to benefits of the people as it will reduce the corruption involved up to some extent. The genuine beneficiary will get advantages of the welfare programmes from both the state and the central government.

Submitted by Aadhar on

Although India still has a long way to go to improvise on this excellent scheme. The system is still new and is fast catching up with more and more citizen applying for the AADHAAR scheme. It will be a great piece of document and will take away lots of burden of carrying multiple Id and Address proof. Good job government!

Submitted by Ravi Shyam on

Post Independence, Aadhaar-enabled Service Delivery is the greatest initiative by Indian Govt. Lok Pal Bill with proper provisions should be another. Both together will help eradicate corruption to much extent.

Aadhaar will also bring efficiency in govt machinery.

Submitted by AADHAAR on

Yes our government will roll out Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery initiatives in 51 districts across the country. These services will be linked to various government schemes such as MNREGA wage payments, PDS distribution, payment of social security benefits such as old-age payments, distribution of LPG cylinders, etc.

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