In what is yet another positive sign of the recovery of the economy and the country coming out of the grip of the second Covid-19 wave, the usage of Aadhaar by people to claim a number of benefits has risen to a record level last month.
A total of 146 crore Aadhaar-based authentications were done in August, as per data reviewed by News18, which is the highest-such number ever. This is more than the 130 crore population of India and indicates that people who are holding an Aadhaar number could have used it more than once to claim multiple benefits from the government. 130 crore people in India now hold an Aadhaar number at near 100% saturation.
The 146 crore authentications done using Aadhaar in August was a nearly 50 percent jump from the months of April and May when the Covid second wave was raging in the country and only 96.6 crore authentications were reported in each of those two months. In July this year, the country had seen a high of 137 crore Aadhaar-based authentications while the highest figure earlier was 120 crore authentications reported in May, 2020.
“This is one key matrix to show that the country is recovering from the Covid pandemic and the second wave and people are using Aadhaar in big numbers to claim government benefits,” a senior government official told News18. The data also shows e-KYC based authentications using Aadhaar separately in which paper documents does not need to be shown by a citizen. E-KYC authentications also hit a record high of 16.3 crore in August, up nearly three times from 5.3 million in May.
Covid-19 vaccinations are also using the Aadhaar platform, which are also contributing to the rising authentications.
WHAT DO HIGH AADHAAR AUTHENTICATIONS MEAN?
The Narendra Modi government over the years has linked nearly all of its welfare schemes to Aadhaar, using the unique identification number to disburse the benefits to beneficiaries. Nearly 311 central welfare schemes of 54 ministries come under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) platform using Aadhaar.
The PM-Kisan Nidhi scheme for farmers is based on the Aadhaar platform in which nearly 10 crore farmers are being transferred Rs 2000 each after every four months. Further, the PM Ujjwala Yojana and the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, in which free foodgrains are being distributed to the poor, are also using the Aadhaar platform.
An Aadhaar authentication means the Aadhaar number being used in each instance to correctly identify a beneficiary of a scheme and electronically transfer the benefit into his or her bank account or in kind as in case of the Public Distribution Scheme or PM Garib Kalyan Yojana. PM Narendra Modi on multiple occasions has termed the Aadhaar-based DBT scheme as a game-changer to cut out corruption and ensure people got benefits even in the times of lockdown during COVID. The government claims to have saved a whopping Rs 1,78,396 crore since 2014 through DBT-Aadhaar platform.