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Aadhaar to help eradicate poverty, says WB chief

By Lalit K Jha
May 09, 2013 10:20 IST
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Describing Aadhaar card as one of the best example of integration of technology for social welfare use, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, believes that this massive effort by the Indian Government would help in achieving his goal of poverty eradication by 2030.

"On a larger scale we've got to think about how we can integrate this technology into a massive effort to scale up access to financial services," Kim said at a recent World Bank event during which Nandan Nilekani, the head of such an effort in India, made a presentation on the Aadhaar program at the bank headquarters in Washington.

Nilekani is the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

Highly impressed by Aaadhaar, he said this could help achieve the target of eradicating poverty by 2030 in ways big and small.

"On a comparatively smaller scale being able to keep online records of what medicines tuberculosis patients, for example, have been getting, could help us in curtailing the ability of certain strains of tuberculosis to get more and more resistant over time," Kim noted.

"I see this as the beginning of an institution-wide conversation about how we can make this system work for everybody. I'm not quite sure how to do it, so I'm hoping all our staff will continue to come to us with ideas on how to make this work on a large scale," he said.

"This is the science of delivery. Now, more than ever, we have to find innovations like these that have been thought through carefully, and are quickly and easily scalable," the World Bank President said.

Aadhaar is a 12-digit number which the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is issuing for all residents in India. The UIDAI is storing basic demographic and biometric information - photograph, ten fingerprints and eye scan - of each individual, being issued the number, in a central database.

Image: A villager goes through the process of a fingerprint scanner during UID database system in the Pathancheru village, in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh. | Photograph: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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