Data drive: Aadhaar gains

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Updated: August 11, 2016 4:20:18 PM

The Supreme Court this week finally allowed the government to use Aadhaar cards for MGNREGA, Jan Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes.

The Supreme Court this week finally allowed the government to use Aadhaar cards for MGNREGA, Jan Dhan
Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes. It had earlier restricted its use to public distribution system and LPG subsidy and the government moved the court to seek permission to use Aadhaar for more services.

With over 92 crore people on the unique identity platform, the roll out has been a success and the government has set a target of 100 crore enrollment by the end of this year. Over 80% adults are enrolled on the platform, which is key for subsidy targeting and other benefits like financial inclusion and tracking high-value transactions.

As on March this year, the direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes had reached 22.7 crore people with MGNREGA, scholarships and LPG subsidy schemes being the largest. While 17.2 crore of these beneficiaries had Aadhaar, only 8.3 crore of them had an Aadhaar-linked bank account. More beneficiaries using Aadhaar number and linking these to their bank accounts will be the next important step.

As the privacy issue is being debated in the apex court, the government should now expedite the use of Aadhaar as it will help to weed out fake beneficiaries for government schemes. The DBT in LPG has shown the way by saving R14,672 crore in FY15 and this has be replicated everywhere.

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