Within the next few months, the details of every person in India will be in the government database.
The Aadhaar scheme was launched in 2009, under former prime minister Manmohan Singh, but the current government, led by Narendra Modi, is credited with rolling it out across India. According to the latest figures in May 2016 from the Unique Identification Authority, more than a billion people have been given Aadhaar numbers.
The government’s task is enormous. India’s 1.25 billion population is second in size only to China. Hundreds of officials have been enlisted to go out to register people and give them a unique identification number, which will be linked to their biometric data. In some states, hospitals have started issuing Aadhaar numbers so babies are enrolled within minutes of being born.
The national database will allow the central government to take stock of the population’s needs in various parts of the country and provide services accordingly.
The data collected by the Aadhaar centres will be stored in a network of servers in the southern city of Bangalore. Information from the database can then be circulated to different authorities. The ID system, according to the government, will prevent welfare fraud and ensure subsidies and social security schemes are reaching the right people. Millions of people under the scheme will also get access to bank accounts for the first time.
Source: The Guardian