Inclusive growth has always been a concern for India since the developmental programs of the government hardly reached the intended beneficiaries. The Aadhaar project was launched to provide not just a card but a digital identity to every resident of India.
Although the project was launched in 2009 by the UPA government, the real growth in numbers, coverage as well as vision of its usage has been expanded by the Narendra Modi government. We all know about the Jandhan-Aadhaar-Mobile Trinity (JAM Trinity), how Aadhaar seeding has weeded out ghost beneficiaries, how money is being transferred directly in the accounts of beneficiaries and how it has saved money for government.
A validation of the success of Aadhaar has come from an independent survey conducted by Dalberg in association with Omidyar Network India. The survey was conducted with a sample size of 1.67 lakh respondents. They were asked various questions ranging from owning am Aadhaar to its utility and challenges. The results of the survey have been published as “State of Aadhaar” 2019 report.
Universality of Aadhaar
95% of the adults have an Aadhaar showing the universality of the scheme. 75% of the children have an Aadhaar after a sub-component was launched to enroll children in Aadhaar.
Only 8% of the population doesn’t have Aadhaar, which is around 10.2 crore. Interestingly, out of these people, 7.5 crore are children. Thus, the goal of making Aadhaar universal will have to focus on children more than adults.
Trust in the Aadhaar
Despite the well-crafted propaganda by self-appointed activists, the people are trusting Aadhaar. 92% of the respondents are satisfied with Aadhaar while 90% feel that their data is safe with the UIDAI, the authority tasked with Aadhaar management.
Interestingly, almost all of the respondents who didn’t have an Aadhaar were eager to enroll. They didn’t have Aadhaar due to technical reasons like lack of documents, technical glitches in the Aadhaar enrollment centers and no Aadhaar enrollment center in the vicinity.
Use of Aadhaar
95% of the adults use Aadhaar on an average once a month to avail some or the other service. This shows the Aadhaar is not just a card to be stored in the wardrobe as a document but has some practical usage
80% people feel that Aadhaar has made schemes for PDS rations, NREGA and social pensions more reliable. This reliability rests on the fact that fake beneficiaries are singled out. The money reaches only the real beneficiaries through a seamless process of verification.
The report also zeroes in on the areas of focus for the government. It says 27% of the third gender don’t possess an Aadhaar. Similarly, the spread of Aadhaar is limited in Assam and Meghalaya with majority of residents not having an Aadhaar (possible due to large number of illegal immigrants). It also states that more than 30% people find it difficult to get errors rectified in Aadhaar which signals a need for improving the technical setup by UIDAI.
Overall, we find that the noise around Aadhaar created by vested interests hasn’t really affected the people. The measures taken by the government to ensure Aadhaar become safe and secure are being appreciated by the people. Aadhaar is now being endorsed as a harbinger of New India.