New State of Aadhaar report gives insights on governance
The State of Aadhaar Annual Report 2017-18 from IDinsight was released last month, bringing much needed objectivity to the Aadhaar debates. The most striking takeaway from the report is that exclusion from food rations in the Public Distribution System due to Aadhaar-related factors is significant but is lower than non-Aadhaar factors. While the report relies on surveys from rural populations in three states, for a country of India’s size and heterogeneity, across state government capacities as well, the insight on exclusion calls for an appropriate response. We need an institutional mechanism that will not only put in correct processes, but that will ensure hand holding across all levels of the administrative chain till the beneficiary. We need more stringent monitoring and supervision, with careful gleaning of the numerous glitches that are bound to continuously emerge. India has begun well but transforming the subsidy regime is a process that will take time, its success depends on honestly addressing the challenges as they arise.
Even as we await the Srikrishna Committee report on data protection and privacy, India Post Payments Bank has become the first bank to give the customer an option to delink Aadhaar from the bank account, seeks consent from the customer to allow Aadhaar seeding of the account and mapping this with NPCI to enable the direct benefit transfers (See Money Life, 28th May 2018). It is heartening to see a government owned entity break from the pack and lead with new consent architecture.