Ever since the BJP government has come into power questions were being raised about the fate of Aadhaar scheme. Aadhaar was a flagship programme of the UPA government and it was being prepared with an objective to transfer subsidies to the masses. It was done with an intention to provide gas subsides, scholarship, opening bank account, availing pension etc. Large number of people was enrolled across the country and many of them received Aadhaar cards. Later, Aadhaar numbers were seeded with the customers’ bank account so that they can avail government subsidies.
After the Modi government was sworn in the Congress asked about the status of Aadhaar and whether it will be scrapped. Earlier Narendra Modi had himself pointed out various shortcomings of Aadhaar but implemented it effectively in Gujarat. Former UID Chairman Nandan Nilekani met Modi and explained him about the benefits of Aadhaar cards to government and citizens. Through the usage of Aadhaar, India can save Rs 50,000 crore which would help the nation to curtail the mounting fiscal deficit.
He said that the government could save crores of rupees by plugging the leakages and also weed out bogus beneficiaries. Since then the NDA had said that it will continue with aadhaar. The government has asked the state governments to speed up the enrolments of Aadhaar. Modi has sought introduction of aadhaar based biometric attendance system at all government offices. He has asked the Planning Commission to ensure the enrolment of all inmates across the country under Aadhaar. The government nonetheless has ruled out the merger of aadhar data with National Population Register.
Modi had sought a 100-crore enrolment target under Aadhaar and has asked officials to link its data with passports. The PM has asked finance minister Arun Jaitley to try and resolve all legal issues surrounding Aadhaar.
The DBT scheme, launched by the UPA had hit several roadblocks due to ineffective implementation. Modi has asked officials to implement the scheme in 300 districts on a priority basis where Aadhaar enrolment has exceeded 80 per cent.
The PMO has asked for data on the number of beneficiaries in these districts, those enrolled under Aadhaar, those whose accounts are seeded with it, and those who have been left out of the process. The government has increased the allocation for UIDAI from Rs 1,550 crore (revised estimate) to Rs 2,039 crore.
The BJP government is also likely to bring in a legislation for providing legal sanctity to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). So far, UIDAI has given Aadhaar numbers to 640 million residents, with 177 million coming from the National Population Register (NPR). Thus Modi has sent a strong message to the opposition which has been questioning about its stand over the survival of the UIDAI project. UIDAI was mandated to collect biometrics of 600 million residents in the country and rest of the population was to be covered under the National Population Register (NPR) project.