The ‘revolutionary’ biometric identifier program Aadhaar should not be undermined as it has brought efficiency in public spending and removed corruption, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said today. Aadhaar a unique 12-digit number is assigned to about 99 percent of adult Indian residents links some 84 government services and is used as an authenticating tool for giving pensions and money transfers, said in PTI report today.
Speaking at an Assocham event, Lavasa said Aadhaar can become the single identity proof for an array of services. “Aadhaar is revolutionary what it has done is something which has not been done anywhere in the world. You have 105 crore, people who have a unique identity,” he said. While for long developed countries were admired for giving their citizens a single identity card, Aadhaar becoming a similar identity proof is “now a distinct possibility in India,” he said.
Stating that Aadhaar has huge potential for changing many of the procedures for conducting business, he said, “I think this platform of Aadhaar which has been created should not be undermined. It is very important.”
“Linked to Aadhaar is the whole gamut of public expenditure which is a matter of concern not only for those who want more efficiency of public spending but also all of us who are concerned with transparency and removal of corruption,” he said. Using Aadhaar as a platform, the government initiatives like direct benefit transfer of subsidies has achieved unprecedented success. “It has made a significant impact,” he said. Aadhaar, a unique 12-digit number backed by biometrics including fingerprint and iris scans stored in a central database, began in 2009 to target payments to the poor across hinterland, said in PTI report today.
World Bank in its World Development Report 2016 has lauded Aadhaar saying it “helps willing governments to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups.”
Use of Aadhaar has now been extended for a filing income tax return, opening a bank account and buying a mobile SIM card. Earlier this week the Supreme Court had observed that Aadhaar can be used for all “non-benefit schemes like the opening of bank accounts”, but it should not be made mandatory for availing benefits under social welfare schemes.