Aadhaar’s benefits may have been limited, says RBI-affiliated institute

Data showed that the failure rate was the highest in districts with a significantly large migrant labourer population.


The government’s Aadhaar programme may have had mixed benefits, a research paper written by a member of an RBI institute has suggested. The nationwide biometric system may not have had “much benefit to those in the last-mile” which includes the transfer of money from banks into beneficiaries’ hands.

The paper, written by S Ananth of the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology, has advised the Centre to be cautious with the programme’s implementation. The Aadhaar system has faced quite a few challenges with regard to access to government benefits, the study said, while citing statistics from Andhra Pradesh.

“This raises important questions about the efficiency of Aadhaar and the government’s claims about their introduction of anywhere-rations through their programmes,’’ it said. Data showed that the failure rate was the highest in districts with a significantly large migrant labourer population and that authentication failures were the highest in high population density villages.

The research paper has refuted the central government’s claims of having saved Rs 14,672 crore after the introduction of the Aadhaar programme, via several Direct Benefit Transfer programmes. Citing a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the paper says the government has incurred a loss of Rs 97 crore till date.