Hyderabad: It has been 10 years since Aadhaar was launched across the country. The document that was envisioned to be a simple, common means of identification, has become a raging controversy across the country.
The State of Aadhaar Report 2019, prepared by Omdiyar Network India and advisory group, Dalberg, has found that 95 per cent of all adults and 75 per cent of all children have Aadhaar cards. The overall enrolment is 90.5 per cent. In Telangana, the enrolment figure is even better — 99.8 per cent. At least 96 per cent of Telangana residents said they were satisfied with Aadhaar.
The findings of the report are from a pulse survey of 1,47,868 households in 28 states and union territories, and an in-depth survey with 19,209 households in 16 states and one union territory. It has thrown up surprising and interesting figures.
The survey has found that an alarming 90 per cent of people in Assam and 61 per cent in Meghalaya do not have Aadhaar. Across the country, 30 per cent of the homeless and 27 per cent of third gender residents also don’t have the document.
Other minority groups too were found to be at a disadvantage: 13 per cent of Christians, 11 per cent of Muslims did not have Aadhaar while the number was 7 per cent among Hindus, 4 per cent among Jains and 3 per cent among Sikhs.
Nearly four per cent of the country’s population are estimated to have errors in their Aadhaar. Making changes to their document too seems quite difficult. Nearly 33 per cent of all those who tried to make changes found it difficult; one in five did not succeed at it at all. Interestingly, half of the respondents claimed Aadhaar allowed to access one or more services for the first time ever (ration, MNREGS, social pensions, SIM cards, bank accounts). Also, 80 per cent of beneficiaries said Aadhaar made PDS rations, MGNREGS and social pensions more reliable. There are also problems which led to denial of welfare services or even exclusion. Nearly 0.8 per cent of all people said they experienced exclusion due to Aadhaar-related reasons from key welfare services. Also, 1.5 per cent of PDS users experienced a biometric authentication failure and did not receive their rations due to biometric authentication failure; 3.2 per cent got rations even after biometric authentication.
One of the most interesting findings was that half the population (65 per cent) mistakenly believes Aadhaar is mandatory for bank accounts, SIM cards and school enrolment. Also, 0.5 per cent of children aged 6-14 could not enroll in school due to Aadhaar-related issues. On a related note, nearly 3.3 per cent said they were denied bank accounts due to Aadhaar-related problems.
Around 72 per cent seems to appreciate the convenience of Aadhaar as a universal ID. However, half of them also worry about the risks of linking it to too many services.
Interestingly, 67 per cent of people who were excluded from a service due to Aadhaar problems still said they were satisfied with it.
Perhaps the most amusing of the report’s extrapolations is that 90 per cent of the people trust that their data is safe in the Aadhaar system. Only eight per cent worry about misuse of their data and another two per cent have actually experienced fraud that they believe is due to Aadhaar.
That this report flies in the face of countless problems, malfunctionings and malpractices reported on Aadhar, often leading to starvation and even death, and a strong movement against it as well is perhaps to be expected....