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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Efficiency in mind, panel may decide on Aadhaar-enabled services today

Chetan Chauhan and Saubhadra Chatterjee, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 26, 2012
First Published: 00:22 IST(26/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:09 IST(26/11/2012)

The unique identification number (Aadhar number) that is being assigned to all Indians will form the basis of not only cash transfer of all government subsidies, but all state services that will be linked to it. This would mean services such as education, health and banking services can be availed of using Aadhaar platform by 2017, making them seamless, efficient and transparent.

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A ministerial committee headed by the prime minister is likely to take a decision on this on Monday with directions to ministries to meet the set deadlines to leverage Aadhaar scheme for spending over Rs. 3,000 bn every year.

“With the click of a mouse, a person's health or financial history would be available wherever he wants to avail of these services,” Unique Identification Authority chairperson Nandan Nilekani said on Friday, who described Aadhaar as a “game-changer” in service delivery.

The PM is also expected to take a decision on giving more money to ministries to meet the deadlines, set up a high-level monitoring committee and showcase successful pilots to garner public support for the online identity database.

The government has already announced that transfer of subsidy directly into bank accounts of beneficiaries in 51 districts will start from January 2013 with a target to cover the entire nation by April 2014.  To ensure this, the planning commission has decided that all new schemes will now be enabled by Aadhaar number.

The twin benefit of having Aadhaar coverage would be that every Indian will have an access to a regular banking service by early 2014.

Principal secretary to the PM Pulok Chatterjee has told the union finance ministry to ensure complete coverage of rural India with banking services through public sector banks and post offices. Around half of rural Indians do not access to a bank.

Chatterjee has asked the ministry to ensure that villages with a population of 5,000 people should have a bank branch and 2,000 people correspondents — to provide banking services to doorstep — by 2013 end.

Planning commission secretary Sindhushree Khullar has told the Prime Minister’s Office that new schemes would be Aadhar-enabled and major flagship schemes will start using Aadhaar system in 51 districts from January 2013. The PM-led panel will also ask the ministries to expand cash transfer to other districts which achieve more than 80 % Aadhaar penetration.

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