95% of adults and 75% children have Aadhaar, but a notable minority comprising people of Assam and Meghalaya, and the homeless do not possess the unique identification document. (Photo: Mint)
95% of adults and 75% children have Aadhaar, but a notable minority comprising people of Assam and Meghalaya, and the homeless do not possess the unique identification document. (Photo: Mint)

Aadhaar use ubiquitous but a few still face difficulties: Survey

  • The survey found that 80% of recipients of state benefits felt that Aadhaar has made rations given through PDS, guaranteed rural jobs, social pensions more reliable
  • However, problems with Aadhaar can lead to denial of welfare services, and at times exclusion from welfare schemes

NEW DELHI : Most Indians use Aadhaar once a month on an average, with a majority experiencing better delivery of services, but a few still face issues related to the unique identification document which in turn have led to exclusion from key welfare schemes, according to a private survey.

According to a report published on Monday by advisory group Dalberg and investment firm Omidyar Network India, 95% of adults and 75% children have Aadhaar, but a notable minority comprising people of Assam and Meghalaya, and the homeless do not possess the unique identification document.

The survey titled State of Aadhaar—a people’s perspective 2019, which is based on two national household surveys on Aadhaar conducted between May and September, covered more than 167,000 residents and sought to find out how well or poorly the biometric identification document served people.

It found that 80% of recipients of state benefits felt that Aadhaar has made rations given through public distribution, guaranteed rural jobs and social pensions more reliable. It also said using Aadhaar, residents were 40% more likely to obtain a new SIM card within one day, compared to using other forms of identification.

However, problems with Aadhaar can lead to denial of welfare services, and at times exclusion from welfare schemes, the report has warned.

It said that 0.8% of people experienced exclusion due to Aadhaar-related reasons from key welfare services such as public distribution system, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and social pensions which they earlier received.

One in hundred among MGNREGS job card holders did not get work the last time they tried due to Aadhaar-related issues and 0.5% of social pension beneficiaries did not receive their pension the last time they expected it due to problems with Aadhaar. However, far more people were denied of these services for reasons unrelated to Aadhaar. For example, 31% people did not receive guaranteed rural jobs due to non-Aadhaar related reasons, the report said.

It said 1.5% of public distribution system users experienced a biometric authentication failure and did not receive rations in their last attempt, while 3.2% of PDS users received their ration despite biometric authentication failure.

“We believe the success of Aadhaar will ultimately depend on how well the program can learn from the experiences and concerns of those who use (or are unable to use) Aadhaar across a wide range of circumstances in their daily lives," the authors said in the forward to the report. They also said the effort was not to adjudicate on the ultimate merits of Aadhaar as a project, which was beyond the scope of the report.

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