Aadhaar Helped Indian Govt Save USD 9 Billion: Nandan Nilekani


Aadhaar now has more than a billion people registered on its system.
Aadhaar now has more than a billion people registered on its system.(Photo altered by The Quint: iStock)

Aadhaar Helped Indian Govt Save USD 9 Billion: Nandan Nilekani

The Indian government's Unique Identification Scheme, Aadhaar, has helped the exchequer save about USD 9 billion by eliminating fraud in beneficiary lists, its architect Nandan Nilekani said in Washington.

The system was launched by the previous UPA government and has been "enthusiastically" supported by the current NDA government, said the 62-year-old non-executive chairman of Infosys — India's second largest software services firm.

It has really been a bipartisan thing, Nilekani said while participating in a World Bank panel discussion on Digital Economy for Development.

He said that it is easier for developing countries to leapfrog by building the right digital infrastructure.

Aadhaar now has more than a billion people registered on its system, he said.

Also Read: Deadline for Aadhaar to Avail Govt Benefits Extended to 31 Dec

It has also saved the government about USD 9 billion in fraud and wastage because by having that unique number you eliminate fakes and duplicates from your beneficiary and employee list.
Nandan Nilekani

"We have about half a billion people who have connected their ID directly to a bank account. The government has transferred about USD 12 billion into bank accounts electronically in real-time to the world's largest cash transfer system. There are many many things like that (sic),” said Nilekani at the event on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

In the new world of data economy, identity authentication, frictionless payments and paperless transactions, are all very important layers of the new digital economy. That is what India has done, he said.

India is the only country in the world where a billion people can do completely paperless, cashless transactions on their mobile phones using this infrastructure which dramatically reduces costs.

"Once you bring cost down, automatically inclusion happens," said the former chairman of Unique Identity Development Authority of India (UIDAI).

Also Read: Aadhaar System a Competition to Global Tech Platforms: Nadella

(With inputs from PTI)

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