India’s biometric ID, Aadhaar, is here to stay. This is the verdict of India’s Supreme Court which delivered a historic judgement today on a slew of petitions challenging the growing use of Aadhaar in the country.
CGD Policy Blogs
It's Financial Inclusion Week. Read up on how digital ID can be used to promote financial inclusion and transform governance.
India’s digital ID system has become ubiquitous and is rapidly being incorporated into service delivery. With more heat than light so far in the Aadhaar debate, the State of Aadhaar report is a major step forward in understanding the world’s largest ongoing transition to digital governance, one that is being watched closely by many other countries.
With few systematic studies of its impact on program beneficiaries, the debate on Aadhaar has, so far, seen more heat than light, but this is changing. The State of Aadhaar Report looks into many dimensions, including beneficiaries’ views of the new digital delivery systems, and the impact of the new approach—which combines financial inclusion (Jan Dhan accounts) Aadhaar, and mobiles (the so-called JAM trinity)—as well as financial inclusion and digital payments.
Can biometric IDs encourage women’s financial inclusion and economic and social empowerment? In principle, the answer should be yes. But the potential impact is limited by a range of other impediments that limit women’s participation.
Policies put in place to counter financial crimes have unfortunately had a chilling effect on banks’ willingness to do business in markets perceived to be risky—due in part to the high price of compliance. Even as changes are being made to address this problem, financial institutions are developing solutions in the form of new cutting-edge technologies to help them comply better and faster with anti-money laundering regulations.
For the policymaker looking to improve services and the delivery of benefits, or for the financial institution trying to expand its customer base, the gap between technical solutions and the situation of the average technology user represents fertile ground for the many new opportunities that the digital economy provides.
Digital identification has become a focus for development policies and programs, and not a moment too soon. Identification Revolution: Can Digital ID be Harnessed for Development considers where these trends are heading.
What Can India's Biometric ID System Do for Development? – Podcast with Aadhaar Architect Nandan Nilekani
India's biometric ID system Aadhaar has provided over a billion people with digital IDs, and changed how the country's government provides services and subsidies. But opponents of the system say that Aadhaar erodes people’s privacy. Nandan Nilekani, the chief architect of the platform, joins the CGD podcast to address these concerns, discuss the platform's progress, and share his vision for future uses of "societal platforms."