Good idea to house it in the IT ministry
Given that the government is keen to adopt the Aadhaar platform to deliver subsidies, it is a good idea to bring the Unique Identification and Development Authority of India (UIDAI) under the ministry of communications and information technology. The fact that the UIDAI was placed under the Planning Commission could be one of the reasons why it faced the kind of problems it did during the UPA tenure. With Planning Commission now scrapped and its replacement NITI Aayog primarily a think tank, UIDAI would, in any case, need to be put under an administrative ministry. While the ministry is also the administrative ministry for the Digital India program, it has also succeeded in displaying the efficiency of Aadhaar-based identification model by developing the attendance maintenance system for central government employees to begin with, and is in the process of linking it with police and land records and voter ID cards. Bringing both Aadhaar and Digital India under the same roof will, no doubt, help synergise the government effort.
Aadhaar enrolments have already crossed 75 crore, schemes like cash transfers for LPG have already adopted the Aadhaar-based subsidy delivery model, and the Jan Dhan Yojana will also be based on it. Encouragingly, most states now have also embraced Aadhaar and enrollments in 15 states have surpassed 90% already—Rajashan’s social scheme delivery platform Bhamashah and Madhya Pradesh’s Samagra are two big examples of its acceptance. With the IT ministry acting as the central point, it will be easier to integrate the Aadhaar-based
data universe for delivery of all government money related to social sector schemes. The government must also now move on providing Aadhaar the necessary statutory backing so that there is no controversy on its usage. The UPA had introduced the Bill for this in Parliament but the Parliamentary Standing Committee had struck it down at that time. It has a better chance of getting passed now.