Terming Aadhaar as a “game changer”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on January 6 said that savings made through its implementation can fund three public welfare schemes of the magnitude of Ayushman Bharat — the ambitious healthcare programme to provide free hospitalisation to millions of poor people.
He also attributed the successful implementation of Aadhaar to the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the Congress-led UPA remained “half-hearted” towards it because of its own contradictions and indecision.
In a Facebook post titled ‘Benefits of the Aadhaar – where it stands today’, Jaitley said that its use in the delivery of subsidies has helped saved Rs 90,000 crore in the last few years till March 2018 by eliminating several duplicate, non-existent and fake beneficiaries.
The Digital Dividend Report prepared by the World Bank estimates that India can save Rs 77,000 crore every year by the use of Aadhaar, he said.
“The savings through Aadhaar can fund three schemes of the size of Ayushman Bharat…Aadhaar is a game changer,” Jaitley said.
Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled healthcare providers.
“With the elimination of middlemen the benefits go directly to the bank accounts. This is a unique technology implemented only in India. The monies saved through Aadhaar is money fruitfully employed for the poor elsewhere,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley said that a senior minister in the UPA government blocked the idea of Unique Identity Number (UID) conceived by Nandan Nilekani and that it was a “divided house”. “The Prime Minister was indecisive. The enrolment continued, though at a very moderate pace,” he said.