Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has launched the direct cash transfer system under the Aadhaar scheme, which aims at cutting corruption and middlemen. The launch marked the second anniversary of the Aadhaar project.
At the function at Dudu, 60 km from Jaipur, on Saturday, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi handed over the 21st crore Aadhaar card to Vali Bai, 45, a resident of Kurawar village in Udaipur district.
Addressing the gathering, the PM said, by 2014, 60 crore people in the country would get Aadhaar cards.
"The first card was issued at a tribal village in Maharashtra in December 2010. Now, it has become one of the biggest projects of its kind in the world," said Singh.
The PM also gave away the Aadhaar Governance Awards and Aadhaar Excellence Awards at the function.
Gandhi said it was not easy to give a card to every person in such a large country, but efforts were on to cover all people.
"It was Rajiv's (Gandhi) dream to use technology for the benefit of common people. Aadhaar is a significant step in that direction," she said.
Aadhaar would ensure that rights of poor people were not transgressed, she added.
The unique identification number will be used for making payments to beneficiaries under various government schemes, such as the rural job guarantee programme, public distribution system, social security pension schemes, LPG distribution scheme, the chief minister's rural BPL housing and the chief minister's higher education scholarship, said Gandhi.
"Complaints are often received that gas connections, diesel, fertilisers etc, provided at subsidised rates, do not reach people. These will now reach the real beneficiaries through direct cash transfer," the PM said.
Also present were finance minister P Chidambaram, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, deputy chairman of planning commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Unique Identification Authority of India chairman Nandan Nilekani.