Numbers speak. In the case of Aadhaar — India’s biometric-based unique identification scheme for all citizens — the numbers are massive. What started merely as a unique identification programme six and a half years ago graduated to becoming a tool for public service delivery reforms in the second phase and for de-duplication, e-KYC and direct benefit transfer in the third phase. In its latest avatar, Aadhaar is poised to truly change the way Indians have done financial transactions until now.
A UN Report on World Social Situation, 2016 also recognised Aadhaar as a tool of development with “tremendous potential to foster inclusion by giving all people, including the poorest and most marginalised, an official identity” and a wonderful “critical step in enabling fairer access of people to government benefits and services”. Launched first by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April 2010, Aadhaar’s role transformed manifold after the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took measures to use Aadhaar for social and financial inclusion. The government is taking steps to use Aadhaar as an access point for financial transactions for citizens across the country.
— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) January 27, 2017
Here are five pointers that show Aadhaar’s journey in India since 2014 has been incredible:
a) 111+ crore out of 125 crore+ population in Aadhaar net
In 2014, the total number of people having Aadhaar number was 63.22 crore. In the two years, Aadhaar generation has crossed over 111 crore. As per Census 2011, over 99% adult population above the age of 18 have been assigned Aadhaar numbers.
b) Aadhaar helped government exchequer save Rs 36,144 crore in two years
After 2014, the Aadhaar started contributing to the management of fiscal budget by generating saving to the Government exchequer to the tune of Rs 36,144 crore in a few welfare schemes in two years.
c) Set to enable India’s transition to cashless economy
With the presently existing Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and the soon to be launched Aadhaar Pay, the Aadhaar will make India’s transition to a digital economy smooth.
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In May 2014, the number of AEPS transactions in the country was 46 lakh. It has crossed 33.87 crore now. The AEPS helps banking correspondents to go to the doorsteps in villages to facilitate banking transactions with the help of Micro-ATMs linked with Aadhaar. In May 2014, there were only 7406 AEPS points. This has gone over 1,65,000 now.
Aadhaar Pay would enable any person with his/her Aadhaar number linked to a bank account to make or receive payment with his thumb impression alone.
With Aadhaar payment bridge for Direct Benefit Transfer, transactions worth Rs 44,967 crore has been done since May 31, 2014. Before May 2014, benefit transfers worth only Rs 4000 crore was done.
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d) Since Demonetization, 7-8 lakh people applied or requested for data updating their data every day
Following the much talked about demonetisation decision announced by Prime Minister Modi on November 8, around 7-8 lakh people have applied for or requested for updating their data every day. Aadhaar generation until May 31, 2014 was 63.22 crore with a per day enrolment/update trend of about 3-4 lakh which remained around 5-6 lakh per day till October 2016.
e) 39 crore people have Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, 2 crore added every month
Around 39 crore people having Aadhaar-linked bank accounts would benefit from Aadhaar pay. This number was only 6.7 crore in May 2014.
(Data by Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India)