February 25, 2013 -
Aadhaar enrolment has now reached 286.66 million, representing a significant jump, owed widely to the launch of the Unique Identity Authority of India’s (UIDAI) direct transfer scheme launched at the beginning of this year.
This increase is good news to stakeholders in the Aadhaar program, as in May 2012, enrollment stood at only 4.76 million whereas enrolment for this month already sits at 9.01 million and enrolment in January stood at 24.79 million.
Reported in Business Standard, UIDAI officials suggest the government’s strategy has been aimed at enrolling approximately 20 million people per month, though the direct transfer scheme has sped this process up significantly since its launch.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Aadhaar enrolment, the opening of bank accounts and the distribution of unique identity numbers had previously slowed and could take at least four months to complete the process in the five districts where the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme was launched.
Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram is expected to outline the roadmap for direct benefit transfer coverage in the coming budget. The first direct benefit transfer coverage phase is set to be completed by March. According to the Business Standard report, this coming budget is also likely to outline the government’s strategy regarding the coverage of critical food, fertiliser, diesel and kerosene subsidy under the direct benefit transfer system. Currently, these are not included.
Though the concept for the direct benefit transfer scheme has been built on the Aadhaar system – tying bank accounts and identity information to Aadhaar numbers – many banks have been allowing benefit transfers without proven Aadhaar numbers.
In Delhi, the government has come up with a temporary solution for those who have signed up for Aadhaar cards, but have not yet received them in the mail. eAadhaar card counters have been set up in the 13 districts where coverage is the poorest to allow applicants to get a temporary print-out of their UID card, as cards are increasingly required to access government services.