Aadhaar-based authentications touched a record high in April and May, topping 120 crore this month, as the government rolled out direct benefits to people using the Aadhaar platform under the PM Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP). However, fresh enrolments were low in April and May due to the lockdown.
As per details with ET, Aadhaar-based authentications stood at 118 crore in April and 120.1 crore this month till May 30, which was the highest figure recorded so far in any month since the Modi government started its second term last June.
“This shows the big success of delivery of PMGKP on the ground during the lockdown and a record number of people benefitting from monetary help directly in their bank accounts using Aadhaar. Rolling out such a big package directly to people without a hitch would not have been possible without the Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer framework which have been in place,” a top government official told ET.
Aadhaar authentications stood at 104 crore in January, 72 crore last December, and 81 crore last June. Aadhaar authentications imply the number of times an Aadhaar number is used to authenticate a beneficiary’s identity before money is electronically transferred into his/her bank account. The 120.1 crore figure for May would include multiple benefits received by one individual.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on May 12, had said: “Who could have thought that money sent by the Government of India will reach the pockets of poor farmers directly? But it has happened. That also happened when all the government offices were closed; the means of transport were shut down. This was just a reform related to Janadhan-Aadhaar-Mobile-JAM’s Trishakti, the effect of which we have just seen.”
Earlier this month, the government said 39 crore poor people received Rs 34,800 crore under PMGKP using the digital payment infrastructure. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the package on March 26 to protect the poor from the impact of the lockdown due to Covid-19.
Free foodgrain and a host of cash payments were transferred to women and poor senior citizens and farmers under PMGKP. This included nearly Rs 17,000 crore front loaded towards payment of the first instalment of PM-KISAN to over eight crore beneficiaries, almost Rs 13,000 crore credited to over 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders, nearly Rs 1,400 crore disbursed to about three crore old age persons, widows and disabled persons and nearly Rs 35,000 crore to over 2.2 crore construction workers About 5 crore free cylinders under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) were delivered to beneficiaries using Aadhaar. The highest number of authentication transactions in May was carried out through National Payments Corporation and National Informatics Centre.
Fresh Aadhaar enrolment collapsed in April and May from 23 lakh in January to just 8,700 in April and about 70,000 in May as Aadhaar centres remained closed. Nearly 126 crore people in India have Aadhaar numbers presently, as per UIDAI.
Source : Economic Times