More than a billion people in the country — 1,000,856,739 to be precise — now have the unique identification number Aadhaar, which performs a significant and increasing role in the transfer of social security benefits to the target population, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.
The first Aadhaar number was issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) five and half years ago and it got legal backing recently with the passage of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, by Parliament. The cover continues to get wider with more than 5-7 lakh people being enrolled for Aadhaar every day.
While the direct benefit transfer-LPG (Pahal) using the Aadhaar platform has resulted in savings of `14,672 crore to the government so far, the use of the facility for delivery of grains under the public distribution system (PDS) has led to savings of `2,346 crore in the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Puducherry and Delhi. Significant savings have been made in the Aadhaar-enabled disbursal of the scholarships and pensions.
The government relies on the JAM trinity — the Jan Dhan scheme under which millions have opened new bank accounts, Aadhaar and mobile — for reducing wastage in the transfer of sundry social benefits to the needy.
According to a government statement issued on Monday, 25.48 crore bank accounts are now linked with Aadhaar and so are over 12.28 crore (71%) LPG connections, 11.39 crore (45%) ration cards, and 5.90 crore (60%) MGNREGA cards. So far, over 150.6 crore authentication transactions and 8.4 crore e-KYC transactions have been done by UIDAI. “UIDAI authenticates over 40 lakh transactions per day,” the government said.
“UIDAI today has a capacity of generating and dispatching over 15 lakh Aadhaars every day and has 37,304 enrolment stations spread across the country, manned by 3,76,543 certified operators… The number of transactions using Aadhaar authentication has risen to 150.6 crore as on March 31, 2016, compared to 8.82 crore on May 31, 2014. The number of e-KYC transactions has gone up to 8.4 crore as on March 31, 2016 as against 2.7 lakh transaction on May 31, 2014,” the government said.
The government added that the Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) has been developed that enables disbursal of benefits other payments directly to the beneficiary through her Aadhaar number without requiring bank details. “Today, more than 23 crore people have linked their bank accounts to their Aadhaars on the Aadhaar Payment Bridge. Total number of transactions on the APB was 94.71 crore (worth `28,363 crore), a handsome rise compared to the data on May 31, 2014: 7.13 crore APB transactions worth `4,474 crore.”
Aadhaar is now linked to various schemes and initiatives, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, MGNREGS, pensions, scholarships, DBTL, UAN (EPFO), PDS, passports, attendance system in government offices, etc.