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Indian government official claims $29B in savings from Aadhaar

NITI Aayog head also says equity improved through digital ID
Indian government official claims $29B in savings from Aadhaar

A senior official claims that the government of India has saved billions of dollars through Aadhaar, while speeding up benefits delivery and cutting out intermediaries, making the biometrics-backed digital ID scheme among the most successful of its kind in the world.

Amitabh Kant, CEO of government policy institute NITI Aayog, says the elimination of fraud and duplicate entries in public benefits rolls has saved India 2.22 trillion rupees (approximately US$29 billion), The Indian Express reports.

The savings come from the total of 315 federal and 500 state-level schemes currently using Aadhaar.

Kant made the statement at a workshop on ‘Recent Initiatives for Simplifying Aadhaar usage,’ and added that the digital ID system has set a “strong foundation” for the Digital India strategy.

“Aadhaar has set an example globally of how the digitisation of public infrastructure can play an enormous role in inclusive development. We are not surprised that many countries are looking to replicate the Aadhaar system to digitise their public infrastructure…every household now has access to formal banking services along with a platform for availing low value credit, insurance and pension schemes,” he said, as quoted by the Express.

Kant also argued that inclusion is “the central principle” of Aadhaar, and that its digital innovation and economic development gains have come to a significant extent through empowering women.

The comments come hard on the heels of the latest incident of concern and confusing communication by the UIDAI, which operates the digital ID system, and allegations of service denial and privacy violations.

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