1. How Aadhaar card is helping empower women, driving boosting use of banking services

How Aadhaar card is helping empower women, driving boosting use of banking services

Adoption of the first nationwide identification system is helping empower the country’s women and driving increased use of banking services, according to the first study of the nationwide Aadhaar card program.

By: | Published: December 12, 2017 12:07 PM
Aadhaar, Aadhaar card, women, banking services, empower women with Aadhaar Adoption of the first nationwide identification system is helping empower the country’s women and driving increased use of banking services, according to the first study of the nationwide Aadhaar card program. (Image: Reuters)

Adoption of the first nationwide identification system is helping empower the country’s women and driving increased use of banking services, according to the first study of the nationwide Aadhaar card program. Virtually all homes in the western state of Rajasthan have at least one bank account, and most have several, since the introduction of the Aadhaar program, the Center for Global Development said in a report. Despite the advances, problems remain in digital authentication for the biometric system that now covers more than 1.1 billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population. Aadhaar was implemented to improve the efficiency of welfare payments that account for over $60 billion in annual spending, replacing cash with bank transfers and subsidies.

The program assigns a unique 12-digit number to each user that is associated with their iris, fingerprints and facial features. While the program has been praised for reducing fraud and preventing leakages, it’s been criticized for not paying enough attention to issues including privacy and data security. The study was done in partnership with consultancy MicroSave and surveyed 633 households in rural and urban areas of Rajasthan. The group represented a variety of income and landholding categories, with 64 percent of respondents being women. “The mandating of welfare payments to female heads of the family is changing local level dynamics and age-old hierarchies,” said Anit Mukherjee, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and one of the authors of the study. “In many villages, women are setting out in groups to go to the bank, it’s a visible change,” he said in a phone interview.

The survey included sections on financial inclusion, empowerment, user experience as well as perception. In Rajasthan, a state known to be patriarchal, the requirement for the family head to be female drove a massive increase in banking use with 66 percent of the female heads of family opening accounts when they didn’t have one before registration. However, men still control the use of mobile phones as only about a third of the households had a female head who can read and write text messages.“What the debate was missing so far was data,” Mukherjee said. “We wanted to move from anecdotal evidence toward hard data, making it a more rigorous method of policy evaluation,”

The study also found bottlenecks in the technology infrastructure with more than 25 percent saying it takes three to four attempts to authenticate. About 4 percent said they were unable to authenticate themselves on time to access benefits.

Get latest news and updates on Auto Expo 2018, check breaking news on Budget 2018, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

  1. R
    Reader
    Dec 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm
    The biometrics-based Aadhaar program is inherently flawed. Biometrics can be easily lifted by external means, there is no need to hack the system. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can CLONE your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. That is why advanced countries like the US, UK, etc. did not implement such a self-destructive biometrics-based system. If the biometric details of a person are COMPROMISED ONCE, then even a new Aadhaar card will not help that person. This is NOT like blocking an ATM card and taking a new one.
    Reply
    1. R
      Reader
      Dec 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm
      UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information and the purposes it could be used for, the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked, and the unreliability of such large-scale biometric verification processes. The Aadhaar program was designed in 2009 by mainly considering the 'Identi-ty Cards Act 2006' of UK, but the UK stopped that project in 2010, whereas India continued with the biometrics-based program. We must think why the United Kingdom abandoned their project and destroyed the data collected. (Google: 'Identi-ty Cards Act 2006' and 'Identi-ty Documents Act 2010' )
      Reply
      1. R
        Reader
        Dec 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm
        The US Social Security Number (SSN) card has NO BIOMETRIC DETAILS, no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Instead, a driving license or state ID card is used as an identification for adults. The US government DOES NOT collect the biometric details of its own citizens for the purpose of issuing Social Security Number. The US collects the fingerprints of only those citizens who are involved in any criminal activity (it has nothing to do with SSN), and the citizens of other countries who come to the US.
        Reply
        1. R
          Reader
          Dec 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm
          A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
          Reply

          Go to Top