About two years after the allotment of the first set of Aadhaar numbers in September 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to announce the national launch of a payment system based on these numbers. The function is at Jaipur on Saturday, with United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi present.
A senior government official in the know of the preparations told Business Standard the PM would also hand over the 210 millionth Aadhaar number.
And, that Aadhaar-based pilot projects across the country would be connected through video conferencing. The Aadhaar-based system would be launched simultaneously at all these places, the official said.The official said the pilot projects were in Andhra Pradesh covering the Public Distribution System, in Maharashtra for pensions, in Mysore for cooking gas distribution and in Jharkhand for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme payments, beside other payments.
|THE AADHAAR BOOST|
The PM has already outlined a national architecture for Aadhaar-based payments. The government expects with the enrollment expansion and creation of the national system, it would spread speedily.
On September 29, 2010, Prime Minister Singh and Gandhi together had inaugurated the rolling out of the project for providing unique identification Aadhaar numbers for all citizens, handing over the first set to 10 tribals in Tembhli, Maharashtra.
The project, for targeting subsidies and entitlements to the real beneficiaries, has since passed through tumultuous phases with even opposition from the ministries of home and finance.
However, The Unique Identification Authority of India officials handling the project, led by chairman Nandan Nilekani, are confident the controversies and problems have been left behind and the assigned enrolment of the entire population with the National Population Registry work would be completed by next year.
The Union cabinet in January this year cleared a roadmap for coverage of Aadhaar numbers by allowing UIDAI to enroll 400 million additional people, over its earlier mandate of 200 million, in 16 states.
The rest of the country would be covered by the NPR project of the home ministry.
An Aadhaar-based payment system for subsidies and entitlements under various government schemes through the online biometric identification process is being seen as a major tool to reduce leakages in the payments, of Rs 2 lakh crore (Rs 2 trillion) subsidy and Rs 1 lakh crore (Rs 1 trillion) of entitlements in a year.
The scheme is being envisaged to cover all government payments for beneficiariesfor both central and state schemes.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh