New Delhi: The World Bank says India’s move to roll out unique identification number or Aadhaar to its citizens is worthy of replication by other countries as an example of technology leading to economic transformation.

“If India can provide unique digital identification to 1 billion people in five years, and thereby reduce corruption by billions of dollars, why can’t other countries replicate its success?" said the bank in its World Development Report 2016 released on Wednesday.

The report, which explores the impact of Internet and digital technologies on development, noted that while digital technologies have spread rapidly, dividends from them have lagged.

It also cited examples such as that of East Africa, where 40% adults pay utility bills through mobile phones and China, where 8 million entrepreneurs use an e-commerce platform to export goods to 120 countries, and said that these success stories should be replicated across the world.

Despite many individual successes, technology’s effect on global productivity, expansion of opportunity for the poor and the middle class, and the spread of accountable governance has fallen short of expectations.

Counting the hurdles that need to be overcome, the report said that nearly 60% of the world’s population are still offline fall outside the digital economy.

Also, the benefits of digital technologies can be offset by growing risks.

“Start-ups can disrupt incumbents, but not when vested interests and regulatory uncertainty obstruct competition and the entry of new firms," said the report.

The Supreme Court restricted the use of Aadhaar numbers to certain schemes through two orders issued last year.

These schemes are: the public distribution system, distribution of cooking gas and kerosene, the rural jobs guarantee scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, central and state government pensions, and the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme.

The government claims that through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, it is saving 15,000 crore a year in liquefied petroleum gas subsidy.

It also plans to streamline other direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes and implement DBT of kerosene by 1 April across the country.

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