Taking dream to reality, Nandan Nilekani headed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is set to replicate success in Jharkhand to disburse money to people at their doorsteps nationally.
On Tuesday, the UIDAI launched its unique identification or Aadhaar based regime to verify authenticity of a person and a platform to link public entitlements to Aadhaar linked bank accounts.
It would mean that the governments would be able to directly deposit subsidy into the bank accounts of beneficiaries of schemes such as Public Distribution System, old age pension, scholarships and retirement benefits.
Every year the government provide direct and indirect subsidies worth Rs 3,00,000 crore, half of which is direct. "The Aadhaar platform is ready to disburse the funds directly into bank accounts of people," Nilekani said, while clarifying that having an Aadhaar number will not mean "guarantee to an entitlement".
The UIDAI has found that the entire authentication cycle from the point of recording person's biometric to automatic verification took less than 10 seconds even in remote parts of Jharkhand where sometimes the mobile connectivity was poor.
The authority with banks has undertaken 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 print. "The system worked seamlessly in 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 finger prints. "For them (whose authentication failed), we will have to fall back on other options. We are working on them," Sharma said. The UIDAI found that thumb and fore-finger were best for biometric authentication of Aadhaar.
The success rate was measured on basis of eight proof of concept studies in different states where online verification of Aadhaar after taking finger print was done. 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 utilise the platform for cash transfer of fuel and food subsidies directly into bank accounts of the beneficiary. At the time of withdrawal of money, the online Aadhaar verification of the beneficiary will be done.
For it, each state will have to set up a resident data hub to synergise its data with Aadhaar number of the beneficiaries. "For instance, the state government will have to seed in Aadhaar number of the beneficiary into its existing data for old age pensioners," Sharma explained, expecting the systems to be rolled out by 2014.