The target of having 100 crore people Aadhaar-enrolled is set to be achieved in the next few days, which will reduce the government’s administrative costs. It will also make issuance of ration cards, access to scholarships, pensions and provident fund accounts faster and more reliable.
Union IT & Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be holding a press conference on Monday to announce the 100 crore-mark of Aadhaar enrolments.
As per previous assessments, it was likely to be achieved within March, but now it is sure to be achieved in the first week of April, said a government official, adding, “We are aiming at over 100 crore Aadhaar-authenticated transactions in 2016 for delivery of various public services and subsidies. This figure was nearly 50 crore in 2015 — which in itself is a record.”
As per the website of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is implementing the Aadhaar project, “99.91 crore is the total number of Aadhaars issued as on date. Portal counts/reports are not updated due to maintenance activities. Portal will be updated shortly.”
The government scheme to capture the biometrics of all Indian residents, which was launched in January 2009, has the potential of saving between Rs 50,000 crore and Rs 70,000 crore a year by reducing duplication and leakages, according to official estimates.
Having ensured statutory backing for Aadhaar with the new law notified on March 26, the one-billion-mark will encourage the central government to go for universal use of Aadhaar usage for beneficiaries of welfare schemes, which will further reduce the costs.
The government wants to complete the enrolment process under the unique identification project at the earliest to use Aadhaar as a tool to provide subsidies and benefits under various social sector schemes directly.
Under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, benefits like scholarships, pension and cooking gas subsidy are directly transferred to beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
The government intends to use Aadhaar as a tool to authenticate the identity of people to weed out ghost beneficiaries and plug leakages in spending on various social sector schemes.