The Aadhaar Bill has finally seen the dawn of the day. The Lok Sabha passed it last evening, though the amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha have been rejected. So finally the 1 billion plus citizens of India have a legally backed Aadhaar at their disposal and this becomes the center point for all their target based financial benefits and subsidy initiatives undertaken by the Govt henceforth.
This initiative started towards the end of the UPA regime and aggressively pursued by the Modi Government, it is aimed at plugging all subsidy related fund leakages and ensuring that the ultimate beneficiary is not deprived of their due. Set to give shape and become the channel of Modi Government’s Direct Benefit Transfer mantra, every Indian will have the unique Aadhaar number linked to their bank account and this becomes the sole means of receiving all financial benefits from the Government. For many Indians who buy subsidised LPG cylinders are already enjoying this benefit. Eventually the scope of this initiative will be further broadened.
As of now nearly 97% of the country’s adult population already have Aadhar cards to their name and a total of 99.21 crore Aadhaar cards have been issued thus far. Now a legally-backed Aadhaar scheme will accelerate the overall subsidy reform initiatives undertaken by the Government. Infact the Prime Minister’s flagship project, Jan Dhan Yojna is closely linked to Aadhaar Bill’s success. With more than 21 crore accounts opened under this financial inclusion scheme and close to Rs 35,000 crore deposits mobilised, the legal backing that Aadhaar received becomes the most critical link to its overall success.
Though questions have been raised about potential risk to privacy with the Govt access to biometric data, the basic fact remains that the whole idea of creating Aadhaar was to extend Govt’s benefits directly to the citizens and plugging leakages that have continued for decades now. The Supreme Court too had observed the same fact in its directives last year and given the now legal standing of Aadhaar scheme, necessary precautions will surely be implement. Infact it wilk be in the Government’s interest as well. For the Govt too it is a win-win situation if the Rs 15000 crore savings in LPG subsidies is any indication. Here is a big thumbs up to a new era in financial inclusion for the average Indian citizen.