The economics of Aadhaar
The Aadhaar project is a textbook example of how not to design and execute a public policy initiative in India
When it was first launched in 2009, Aadhaar signalled a promise to repair the corroded plumbing of India’s leaky public delivery systems. The unique biometric identity would help reduce duplicate and ghost entries in the list of beneficiaries of government schemes, and pave the way for direct benefit transfers to them eventually, the then government headed by the Congress party told us. The elimination of false claimants and a chain of government officials who administer public delivery systems would help cut down on corruption and enable the state to do more with fewer resources, we were told.