The Nandan Nilekani-headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is set to replicate, at the national level, Jharkhand's success in disbursing money to people at their doorsteps.
On Tuesday, the UIDAI launched its unique identification or Aadhaar-based platform to link public entitlements to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.
It would mean that governments would be able to directly deposit subsidies into the bank accounts of beneficiaries of schemes such as the Public Distribution System, old-age pension, scholarships and retirement benefits.
Every year, the government provides direct and indirect subsidies worth R3 lakh crore, half of which is direct. "The Aadhaar platform is ready to disburse the funds directly into people's bank accounts," Nilekani said, while clarifying that having an Aadhaar number will not mean "guarantee to an entitlement".
The authority undertook a pilot project in five blocks of Jharkhand to enable villagers to receive money from their accounts from banking correspondents at their doorsteps after online authentication of their finger prints. "The system worked seamlessly on most occasions," said UIDAI director general RS Sharma.
The authentication success rate was 85% in the first go. It increased to 98% with three attempts to record the finger print. "For them (whose authentication failed), we will have to fall back on other options. We are working on them," Sharma said.
About one million authentications per server in an hour were possible, Nilekani said.
Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia outlined the government's plan to utilise the platform for cash transfer of fuel and food subsidies directly into bank accounts of the beneficiary.
Each state will have to set up a resident data hub to synergise its data with Aadhaar numbers. Sharma expected the systems to be rolled out by 2014.