The Aadhaar has worked as a digital infrastructure backbone helping governments in India to roll out several real-time initiatives and service delivery capabilities for citizens and enterprises alike, said Nandan Nilekani, chief architect of Aadhaar and co-founder and chairman, Infosys.
The Aadhaar, serving as an electronic know-your-customer (KYC) tool, has triggered massive customer additions in the country’s financial and telecom sectors and similar explosive growth is expected across other segments as well in the years to come, said Mr. Nilekani at FICCI’s National Executive Committee Meeting here on Monday.
Data central to citizens
“Once data becomes the basis for decision-making across businesses, the country will witness dramatic transformation and growth. Data, globally, is becoming central to individual citizens and governments. We have witnessed dramatic transformation through Aadhaar-based e-KYC and online payments and our existing digital infrastructure will play a key role in reviving the economy,” he said.
He further said that with Aadhaar, many elements of the digital infrastructure have been created. “[Aadhaar is] now critical for you to open a bank account, to get a mobile connection or to buy a mutual fund.
Earlier, KYC used to be a cumbersome process, and therefore, opening a bank account or getting a new phone connection used to be a tough affair. Also, with digital signature becoming a reality, identity verification and other credential checks are now being done real-time and as a result, banks are able to sanction loans in hours.”
The country already has over a billion bank accounts that are Aadhaar number linked. It makes transferring of funds easier and the country conducts over four billions financial transactions. In addition, Aadhaar based e-KYC made LPG subsidies, MNREGA payments, farmer subsidies and pensions corruption-free and seamless. For all these, the underlying technology is Aadhaar, Mr. Nilekani added.
On the benefits of technology for business, he said, the Goods and Services Tax has increased the number of taxpayers. “GSTN is a great example of technology-led co-operative federalism.”
Mr. Nilekani said, Aadhaar e-KYC has been revolutionary in making life simpler for people and India now has the infrastructure to deal with direct benefits transfers (DBT) in any segment, adding that DBT can revive the power sector.