The High-Impact Project Nobody Is Talking About: India’s Aadhar

December 29, 2012 5:28 am

Some quick context: Today, India does not have the equivalent of a Social Security Number – and hence no way to track if the monetary and other benefits of the various welfare schemes of the Government are reaching the right people. Aadhar is the solution that is getting implemented, to solve this issue.

Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the Government of India. This number will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India. Aadhaar number will help you provide access to services like banking, mobile phone connections and other Govt and Non-Govt services in due course. (Source)

So where does the billion possibilities come from? ‘Aadhar enabled Service Delivery’, of course. Today, the focus is on getting payments right. The Aadhaar and the accompanying authentication mechanism coupled with rudimentary technology application can provide the desired micropayment solution. This can bring low-cost access to financial services to everyone, a short distance from their homes. Once a general purpose Aadhaar-enabled micropayments system is in place, a variety of other financial instruments such as micro-credit, micro-insurance, micro-pensions, and micro-mutual funds can be implemented on top of this payments system. (Source)

India has some stunning demographic advantages right now. Aadhar provides the basic authentication API, that enables the first layer of payments for a huge population throughout the country. Once that happens, a huge spectrum of services would suddenly become possible, since you can very accurately know who you are dealing with, and how to pay them. This paper outlines the approach.

Remember: 50 percent of the Indian population is under 25. And they are skipping the PC stuff to go all mobile (Read: The Anomaly called India). Aadhar solves layer 0 and layer 1 issues, using advanced technology, and has a vision to open up APIs to enable services. As they say, the possibilities are endless.

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