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1.05 bn Aadhar cards issued, challenge to enrol remaining 20 crore: UIDAI


New Delhi: With 1.05 billion Aadhar biometric ID cards issued till date, the government and regulator are ahead of the curve in the use of IT to set up a national digital payments infrastructure, a senior official has said.

“With the Aadhar Act passed by parliament, being notified earlier this month, the challenge now is of enrolling the remaining 20 crore people, who are still out of the Unique ID (UID) system… people mostly in difficult to access, remote areas,” Chairman Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI) J. Satyanarayana said via videoconference, addressing an event on Wednesday evening, organised here by the Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI).

“The second challenge is of activating systems to keep these 1 billion-plus data updated, as required in two diverse time-cycles of five and 15 years. And the other big challenge is how to promote the use of Aadhar,” he added.

Describing developments in this area as being “revolutionary” in the sense of “momentous change”, the government said dynamic changes were accelerating transformation which, for the first time in India, was being orchestrated by government and the regulator.

“For the first time, what is accelerating transformation in India are the two agents — government and regulator,” Secretary Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY) Aruna Sundararajan said while addressing the gathering.

“What is driving this change … innovation and disruption, and the technology initiatives of the government are way ahead. Today government and regulator are ahead of the curve,” she said.

“We’ll move all transfers (subsidy) towards digital Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) payments,” she added.

CDFI, which has just completed two years of existence, almost coinciding with the second anniversary of the government’s Jan Dhan scheme for financial inclusion, is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Tata Trusts, among others.

In his address, Deputy Director BMGF Daniel Radcliffe, said India is much ahead of other countries in Asia and Africa in setting up a digitised system for implementing financial inclusion.

“India is way ahead of many other countries… We are convinced that India will teach the world about financial inclusion,” Radcliffe said, referring to the phenomenal “intersection of financial inclusion and digital technology” in India.

“What is unique about India is the way the government is playing a pro-active role in building a payments and ID infrastructure. This has opened the space to private players for a supportive structure of payment banks, fintech, mobile money,” he added.

FinTech, or financial technologies, is a rapidly growing sector in the Indian economy, led by an innovation-driven ecosystem, and a large consumer base.

CDFI, a non government think tank working on research, innovation and dissemination in the area of digital financial inclusion, is currently assisting MeitY and other departments in the process for digital payments enablement.

CDFI is assisting the government in the conceptualization and overall branding of the Social Security Platform.

It is asking the government to adopt some of the innovations and applications it has developed like the Financial Inclusion MIS and Dashboard that provides a platform to measure the performance of bank business correspondents and other stakeholders against predefined parameters.

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