The Congress-led UPA government has cleared the funding for providing Aadhar cards to 40 crore more Indians.
The Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India (CC-UIDAI) on Thursday approved cost estimates of Phase IV of the UID Scheme. By March, 2014, 40 crore more Indians will have their unique identification numbers, at an estimated cost of Rs.3436.16 crores.
These 40 crore Indians will be provided with UID numbers in what is Phase IV of the project. Since the launch of the project on 29th September 2010, UID numbers have been issued to more than 31 crore residents.
In what is the biggest such exercise anywhere in the world, the UID project would provide unique numbers to all residents of India. The UID project is primarily aimed at ensuring inclusive growth by providing a form of identity to those who do not have any identity.
The Congress-led UPA government has accorded top priority to the Aadhar card project as it seeks to provide UID numbers to marginalized sections of the society who often can't avail of several government schemes and struggle to even open a bank account simply because they don't have a valid identity. With a UID card at his disposal, even the poorest Indian citizen would have an identity of his own. Apart from providing identity, the UID card will go a long way to ensure better delivery of services and effective governance.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was established in 2009 and has been mandated to issue Unique Identification (UID) numbers to residents of India.
Though the process of providing Aadhar cards to whole of India will take a few more years to complete, several government schemes are already being implemented where the Aadhar card is being used as the sole proof of identity.
Aadhaar numbers have already been made mandatory including several departments such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the revenue department of the Maharashtra.
Plans are also being made to integrate issue of ration cards and passports also to individual Aadhaar numbers. In December 2012, five Indian banks had launched an instant prepaid card service called the Saral money service allowing users to open a bank account using their Aadhaar card for 'know your customer' (KYC) validation. UIDAI has further partnered with 15 more banks to use Aadhaar as KYC validation.
In November 2012, Indian Government had announced plans to roll out an Aadhaar based Direct Cash Transfer initiative from January 1, 2013. Following this, all government departments who were transferring cash to individual beneficiaries, will transition to this electronic transfer system based on Aadhaar Payment Platform. This includes all subsidy transfers like education loans, scholarships, MNREGA payments, old age pension, PDS subsidies, LPG subsidies, Indira Awaas Yojna subsidies and fertilizer subsidies.
In October 2012, the government had launched Aadhaar enabled service delivery platform for citizens to access services of various government schemes such as wage payments, payment of social security benefits such as old-age payments, among others.
In the same month, Vodafone had also launched a pilot project in Hyderabad using Aadhaar to verify and activate new prepaid and post paid connections.
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the new lot of Aadhar cards will also bear the date of birth of the holder, facilitating the people to avail the benefits of several government and non-governmental schemes that require age validation.
Till now only the year of birth was mentioned in the card, but now it has been agreed in principle to insert the date of birth as well.
The Rs.3436 crore budget for Phase IV of the Aadhar Card project includes various project components such as cost of enrolment for additional 40 crore residents through multiple registrars, cost of updation services, cost of printing and delivery of Aadhaar letters, additional cost for construction of buildings for headquarters, data centres, non-data centres and additional rent for regional offices of UIDAI.
The expenditure comprises (a) Rs. 1600 crore towards cost of enrolments for additional 40 crore residents, (b) Rs. 490 crore towards cost of updation services, (c) Rs.1049 crore towards cost of printing and dispatch of Aadhaar letters, (d) Rs. 247.16 crore towards additional cost for construction of buildings for headquarters, data centres and non-data centres.