Seeding of Aadhaar with PMJDY accounts will help banks deliver services at doorsteps and thus take financial inclusion programme forward, says Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Deputy Director General, UIDAIMaharashtra, in conversation with Kartik Sharma of Elets News Network (ENN)
What is the major area of focus for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)’s Maharashtra regional office?
At present, 80 percent of the population in Maharashtra has been covered under Aadhaar, which is amongst the highest in the country. In terms of total numbers, Maharashtra has contributed to Aadhaar around 9 crore at the national level. We are trying to cover the remaining 20 percent of the population in the State.
Based on our analysis, it has been noticed that a large chunk of uncovered population is that of children between 0-5 years of age. Only 25 percent of this age group has got Aadhaar cards. So we, along with the Government of Maharashtra, are trying to do a focussed enrolment of children of that age group. The State Government will be launching a campaign soon. Aadhaar enrolment camps will be organised in various Anganwadis under this campaign. It is likely that most of the children in Anganwadis do not have Aadhaar enrollment. Once that is over, the left-out adults can also be covered. The problem is that if we do not cover these children, then in future, when they grow up, a large number of people would be there without the Aadhaar enrolment.
What other initiatives are on the anvil for UIDAI, Maharashtra?
We are also focussing on establishing permanent enrolment centres at various places. As we know that the Government of India has issued directives to link Aadhaar with various schemes like MGNREGA, PDS, scholarships, pensions, etc. If Aadhaar is being linked to so many services, we have to ensure that the people who don’t have Aadhaar or the people, who want to update their Aadhaar data, should be able to go to a convenient centre and get the work done. The Union Government has also requested the state governments to seed their database with Aadhaar, so that the efficiency of delivery improves, leakages are minimised and duplication is eliminated. We are working with the State Government to get things done as early as possible.
Apart from these, the Government of India is also trying to link Aadhaar with their various services at the national level. One of the biggest examples of this is subsidy for LPG cylinders. We are trying to work with the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, and other various oil marketing companies to ensure that people don’t face any difficulty during the programme. For this, we have also given our enrolment centre details to every gas distributor. It will ensure a smooth process for consumers without Aadhaar enrolment to know where exactly they need to go for the purpose.
How Aadhaar has helped in the Government of India’s financial inclusion programme, Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)?
PMJDY is also our focus area. I am told that more than 3 crore accounts have been seeded with Aadhaar and majority of these accounts have been opened using eKYC. Since the banks have been on-boarded the Aadhaar- based eKYC system, they should now open bank accounts and offer various banking services through their banking correspondents by using Aadhaar-based payment system or using Aadhaar eKYC process. This will help banks deliver services at the doorsteps and thus take financial inclusion programme forward.
Prime Minister has also directed to use digital life certificates. It is based on Aadhaar. People now don’t have to go to bank to prove that he or she is alive for continuation of his or her pension. This has provided huge relief to a large number of pensioners.
The introduction of Aadhaar-based attendance system in government offices is also a major initiative. It has for sure increased government efficiency. Even in Mumbai, most of the central government offices now have Aadhaarbased attendance system. In short, the first step was introduction of Aadhaar enrolment and the next, its usage in various services.
How UIDAI is partnering with the private sector for new technologies and innovations for Aadhaar?
The entire Aadhaar ecosystem is a perfect example of public-private partnership. If we see the Aadhaar organization as such, we will find that there are very few people who are actually government employees. Enrolment agencies are from the private sector. Similarly, all the devices, like finger print scanners, enrollment machines, laptops, etc., are developed conforming to our standards by private players. We are here working closely with the private partners at every step.
The entire Aadhaar ecosystem is a perfect example of public-private partnership… Enrolment agencies are from the private sector and the devices, like finger print scanners, enrollment machines, laptops, etc., are developed by private players
eGov is organizing BFSI Summit. Please share your thought with us on this summit.
This summit is very important. It is a BFSI Summit and being organized in the City of Mumbai — the financial capital of the country. Top leaderships from the financial institutions like banks, regulator, NBFCs are present here. On the other hand, we are at a very crucial juncture of Aadhaar journey. We are going to cross the number of 75 crore in terms of Aadhaar coverage very soon. Considering that kind of coverage under Aadhaar and, at the same time, the continuous push from the Government of India’s side to use Aadhaar for the delivery of services and making people’s lives convenient, I think BFSI Summit brings in the opportunity to get top people together from this sector to deliberate upon the best possible way to take it forward. This can result in evolution of a common strategy to be adopted for getting the desired result.