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Your UID Fingerprint may be misused!
Dussehra celebration is quite symbolic of the killing, the genocide culture as the victims do celebrate their mass destruction.Dussehra is branded as cultural festival. What culture did we opt for?Durga Puja innovated to celebrate the mass killings of asuras who were the kings in aborigin India.Human sacrifice was quite in vogue. No one else, but the first citizen of the secular democratic republic India, the President took over the role of the priest breaking the protocol.
What to celebrate? Just see,the Finance Ministry is hopeful of raising Rs 12,000-13,000 crore from stake sale in the public sector undertakings (PSUs) by December-end which could help the government to rein in fiscal deficit to around 5.3 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13. The government today approved a Rs 3,150 crore package for development of backward regions in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.Concerned over difficult economic situation, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the country cannot afford to make more mistakes and made a case for accelerating reforms to promote growth and contain fiscal deficit. Faced with difficult government finances, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday asked cash-rich 25 central public sector enterprises to invest their surplus fund of Rs. 2.5 lakh crore to reignite economic growth.
Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time, Chapter: Nine Hundred Seventeen
Skype ID: palash.biswas44
Biometric digital citizenship is meant for exclusion and economic ethnic cleansing.Sovereignty of citizen and his privacy being handed over to corporate interest. Your finger print may be used against you by the governement as well as by private parties with vested interest.In India, a massive effort is underway to collect biometric identity information for each of the country’s 1.2 billion people. The incredible plan, dubbed the “mother of all e-governance projects” by the Economic Times, has stirred controversy in India and beyond, raising serious concerns about the privacy and security of individuals’ personal data. The UID program is administered by the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), an executive body created to oversee the issuance of unique ID numbers for the stated purpose of facilitating access to benefits and services. At the helm of UID is Nandan Nilekani, a billionaire who made his fortune in the tech industry before ascending to his current role as chairman of the UIDAI. We have been warning the countrymen from the beginning.But the government of India made the survellience tool linked to direct subsidy all on the name of inclusion.India is shaking up the way it gets billions of welfare dollars to the poor with a plan that could one day reshape the economy and tackle graft keeping millions in poverty, but in one small town a pilot of the new system is proving unpopular.The pilot project in Beelaheri, a village of 2,000 people some 130 km (81 miles) southwest of Delhi, replaces kerosene subsidies with cash rebates and has been running since December. It has massively lowered demand for the subsidized fuel, which weighs on government finances.But teething problems are immediately visible. Hundreds of new Aadhaar ID cards are strewn in messy piles on the counter of a small tea-shop on the edge of the village. Locals drift in and rifle through the cards, looking for their own.
Your fingerprints have been handed over to corporate India! But what you got, is not the authentic card at all.Elated to be one of the "fortunate" few to have received the 12-digit Aadhaar number? Call us a spoilsport but it isn't of much use. The glossy strip of paper is certainly not "the card" that everyone has been talking about for nearly five years. As of now, the UID lies as the victim of flawed policy. Those who had their fingerprints taken and retinas scanned a year ago are clueless about what happens next. Those who missed the first round don't know when they will get a second chance. A resignation threat by UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani made prime minister Manmohan Singh step up to end feud between UIDAI and NPR. The Aadhaar project ran into trouble when the Parliament Standing Committee said the scheme had "nod clarity of purpose" and is "directionless". Then it made sense to tag it with NPR which already had the required legislative support.The execution is a huge challenge considering the upside down character of the Aadhaar project. After being merged with NPR, the whole thing becomes all the more cumbersome for the lay resident, who doesn't have any background information of the two now-linked projects.
Nearly 240 million people have been registered for issuing Aadhaar cards bearing the unique 12-digit identification number given to residents of India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday. Over 600 million, or about half of the country, will receive the card by 2014.What about the other half?What would be their plight without having the card? What does it mean? Exclusion and excommunication all the way round!Congress chief Sonia Gandhi handed over the 21st crore (210 million) Aadhaar card to Bali Devi, a resident of Purawar village of Udaipur district. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), administers the Aadhaar card, bearing the unique number.
Bengal is not among the 19 states where the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) directly issues the Aadhaar numbers. If you live in this state, your UID number has to be ratified by the Census Directorate before it is embossed on a Resident Identity Card (RIC). That's at least two years away.
In states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, private vendors are being appointed by the UIDAI to do the job.
Our people were branded as demons of various kinds as dasyu, danav, datya, rakshash,asur , vanar and so on.It justified the killing.Dussehra celebration is quite symbolic of the killing, the genocide culture as the victims do celebrate their mass destruction.Dussehra is branded as cultural festival. What culture did we opt for?Durga Puja innovated to celebrate the mass killings of asuras who were the kings in aborigin India.Human sacrifice was quite in vogue. No one else, but the first citizen of the secular democratic republic India, the President took over the role of the priest breaking the protocol. No wonder,Giant effigies of demon king Ravana along with his brother Kumbhkarana and son Meghnad went up in flames today as country celebrated Dussehra symbolising the triumph of good over evil.In the national capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Hamid Ansari were among a large number of dignitaries who watched the evil going up in smoke at the Parade Ground and Subhash Maidan near the historic Red Fort.The President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister and a host of leaders had greeted the people on the joyous occasion hoping the festival would usher in peace, prosperity and happiness for all.
What to celebrate? Just see,the Finance Ministry is hopeful of raising Rs 12,000-13,000 crore from stake sale in the public sector undertakings (PSUs) by December-end which could help the government to rein in fiscal deficit to around 5.3 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13. The government today approved a Rs 3,150 crore package for development of backward regions in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The finance ministry will pencil in fiscal deficit at 5.3 per cent of GDP for this year, improving to 3 per cent by 2016-17, in its soon-to-be-unveiled fiscal reforms blueprint, numbers it hopes will stave off a threatened ratings downgrade and shore up its fiscal credibility.
Faced with difficult government finances, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday asked cash-rich 25 central public sector enterprises to invest their surplus fund of Rs. 2.5 lakh crore to reignite economic growth.
At a meeting convened by Singh and attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, the top PSUs were given a stern message that either they invest their huge surplus or pay it back as special dividend to the exchequer.
“Investing such cash surplus would help in re-igniting the growth impulses that are present in the economy,” Singh was quoted in a statement issued after the meeting from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Concerned over difficult economic situation, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the country cannot afford to make more mistakes and made a case for accelerating reforms to promote growth and contain fiscal deficit.
"We do face difficult situation today and I think what is important that we do not make any more mistakes... we (need to) quickly get back to the path of fiscal consolidation," he said at a function to release a book titled 'Accidental India' written by Shankkar Aiyar.
"Every aspect of India's economic life requires reform," he said.
"I am not deterred, I am not surprised (to opposition to reforms) ... Only way forward is reform. Yes, we can discuss what reforms are necessary, what are unnecessary. What reforms are priority and what reforms are not," he said.
Referring to the government's recent decision to allow cash transfer of subsidies by using Aadhaar platform, Chidambaram said, "by introduction of cash transfer, there will be huge savings in subsidies. Falsification, duplication, leakages will come down".
He said the pilot projects in cash transfer have shown results of 40-90 per cent savings.
"If we do cash transfer of subsidies, to start with scholarship, education loan, move on to LPG subsidies, kerosene subsidies, finally the fertiliser subsidies, I believe there is enormous scope for savings in our subsidy bill. And that could be one area to reform," he said.
The government on Thursday approved 10 percent stake sale in the iron ore mining major NMDC that could fetch the exchequer over Rs 7,000 crore.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has cleared sale of about 39 crore equity of NMDC of face value of Rs 1 each through the Offer for Sale (OFS) route, an official release said.
At present, the government holds 90 percent stake in the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).As of March 31, 2012, the paid up equity capital of NMDC stood at Rs 396.47 crore.Post disinvestment through the OFS (auction) method, the government holding in the Navratna entity will come down to 80 percent.Shares of the NMDC closed at Rs 184.40 apiece, down 0.81 percent on the BSE today. At the current market price, the proceedings would fetch around Rs 7,000 crore.
NMDC, under administrative control of the Ministry of Steel, is primarily engaged in the business of iron ore mining.But it is also expanding its activities towards production of steel and other value added products. It is India's largest producer of iron ore, operating two mining complexes in Chhattisgarh and one in Karnataka.
Although the government had earlier proposed stake sale in NMDC, it postponed the decision because of poor market conditions.
In a stern message, government asked central PSUs to invest their surplus cash pile of Rs.2.5 lakh crore in their growth plans or pay it back as a special dividend to the exchequer.
"Central public sector enterprises have large investible surpluses. In fact, there are more than Rs.2.50 lakh crore investible surpluses with them. The government would like them to grow and invest in their development plan...
"If the PSUs do not deploy the investible surpluses in their own growth and expansion, that money should not lie idle and it must be paid back to the government by way of special dividend," Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel said.
He was briefing reporters about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with heads of 25 PSUs, including the cash-rich ONGC, Coal India, BHEL, NTPC, SAIL, NMDC.
Patel said a committee of secretaries will be set up to look into the issues of PSUs, like autonomy and regulatory clearances, besides investment of surplus funds. It will be headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth.
The meeting comes in the wake of the government finding it hard to meet the fiscal deficit target of 5.1 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was present in the meeting, "was very categorical and I fully endorsed that- either you (PSUs) use that money for your growth and development in a time-bound manner or give back to the government by way of special dividend," Patel said.
Patel said the Prime Minister has understood CPSEs' issues, and the government will work with them even more closely to see that they are able to overcome difficulties.
He added that they should be able to take quick decisions, be nimble footed and should have aggressive plans for growth.
"Prime Minister has also stated categorically that he would be meeting the CPSEs every six months to understand and resolve their issues in a time-bound manner," Patel said.
On disinvestment in state-owned companies, he said there was no specific discussion as it is an ongoing exercise.
"The issue of divesting (shares) of certain CPSEs is an ongoing exercise, while there was no specific discussion on any particular CPSE divestment, the whole issue was on a larger platform," he added.
The government has set a target of garnering Rs.30,000 crore by divesting its stake in various PSUs including NMDC, MMTC and Power Grid Corp.
"We will try our best to see that this target is met," Patel said.
"CPSEs submitted that multilateral checks and balances in case of CPSEs are coming in the way of decision making and in turn resulting into sub-optimal performance," said U D Choubey, Director General, SCOPE.
Patel said, "Many of the CPSEs had the issues, which are larger issues of environment and other regulatory clearances, including oil subsidies and these issues will be addressed."
During 2010-11, 248 CPSEs touched an all time high investment of more than Rs.6.66 lakh crore.
Total turnover of all PSUs went up by 18.3 per cent to Rs.14.7 lakh crore in the 2010-11 fiscal.
Market capitalisation of 45 listed CPSEs was about Rs.15.6 lakh crore, which constituted about 22 per cent of total market capitalisation of the BSE as on March 31, 2011.
Coal India had cash balance of Rs.58,202 crore in 2011-12, while NMDC had Rs.20,264 crore, NTPC (Rs.16,146 crore) and SAIL (Rs.6,415 crore).
Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/india-psu-exchequer-manmohan-singh-investment-special-dividend/1/225955.html
The government plans to raise Rs 30,000 crore from disinvestment during the current financial year. However, it has not been able to come out with any public issue during the first six months of the fiscal.
Due to uncertain market conditions, the government in the last fiscal could raise only Rs 14,000 crore from disinvestment against the target of Rs 40,000 crore.
The CCEA has also given authorisation in favour of EGoM to change the method of disinvestment from the OFS method, if the same is required subsequently due to market conditions or due to change in SEBI Rules and Regulations, etc.
Besides, floor price, number of tranches, basis of allotment and number of shares to be allotted in each of the tranches will be decided by the EGoM, it said.
The EGoM may also accept or cancel the offer, if there is not enough demand at or above the floor price; in case of over-subscription in one or more tranches, the EGoM can decide whether the over-subscribed amount is to be retained subject to the overall disinvestment of 10 percent, it said.
The statement said allotment of additional shares to eligible and willing employees can be offered at a discount of 5 percent to the issue or discovered (lowest cut off) price up to a maximum of 0.50 percent of the paid up equity capital subsequent to completion of the transaction under OFS.
The method and procedure of allotment of shares to the employees will be worked out in consultations with merchant Bankers or Advisors to the issue, it said.
Chidambaram said it is not always easy to take a right decision in India and any idea in India will be shot down by some "perpetual pessimist".
"...I hope the same fate does not fall to my proposal for a National investment Board (NIB)."
NIB, as proposed by Chidambaram, would be an overarching body chaired by the Prime Minister to clear to large infrastructure projects.
Finance ministry officials are working overtime to ensure that the widely anticipated fiscal slippage this year is minimal and not much beyond the budgeted 5.1 per cent, which they say could go a long way in satisfying international ratings agencies that have threatened a downgrade of India's sovereign rating to junk status.It has already asked other ministries to cut non-Plan expenditure by 10 per cent and is now looking for similar savings in Plan expenditure by weeding out small schemes and pressing for focused fund-utilisation strategies.
A 10 per cent expenditure cut, it hopes, could save the government at least Rs 75,000 crore, after meeting expenses towards interest payments, other contractual obligations, and defence spending.
Even though the government is yet to make any significant progress on the disinvestment front so far this year, finance ministry officials believe they can achieve the Rs 30,000-crore target for the year. Confident that the ingredients are in place for an aggressive push to disinvestment, the ministry hopes to raise Rs 12,000-14,000 crore during this quarter itself and is trying to lean on the steel ministry to facilitate stake sale in state-run blue-chip firms such as NMDCBSE -0.67 % and SAILBSE -0.37 %.
"A new plan is in the works... The government is very serious," a senior finance ministry official told ET.
The official said Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who has promised a 'credible and feasible path of fiscal correction', was personally fine-tuning the proposed fiscal framework for the next five years that will be presented in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.
Having forced through an increase in diesel prices to help reduce subsidies, the finance ministry is now focusing on a three-pronged strategy comprising major expenditure cuts, aggressive disinvestment, and large receipts from the sale of telecom spectrum to achieve the fiscal numbers.
"We are hopeful that disinvestment will pick up and about Rs 12,000-Rs 13,000 crore will come in by December. For the full fiscal we expect to raise Rs 30,000 crore," Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Arvind Mayaram told PTI in an interview.
Finance Ministry officials are engaging in hectic parleys with the PSUs to speed up the process so that the disinvestments can take place in the December and March quarters.
The Department of Disinvestment (DoD), the modal department for conducting PSU stake sale, has already secured Cabinet approval for stake sale in four companies -- Oil India, MMTC, Hindustan Copper and Nalco-- which could fetch about Rs 15,000 crore to the exchequer.
"We have target a fiscal deficit at 5.3 per cent for the current fiscal. We aim to bring it down to 3 per cent by 2016-17," Mayaram said, ruling out any further borrowing by the government.
"We will control the deficit by reducing our expenditure and realising funds from PSU disinvestment," he said.
Although the government had pegged fiscal deficit for the current financial year at 5.1 per cent in the budget, it will not be able to achieve the target in view of rising subsidy bill and lower buoyancy in tax collection.
With nearly seven months of the fiscal about to get over, the government is yet to start its disinvestment programme, through which it aims to raise Rs 30,000 crore in 2012-13.
Under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF), which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Rs 1,500 crore will provided to Bihar as Special Plan Assistance.
Similarly Additional Central Assistance of Rs 1,400 crore will be provided for drought mitigation strategies in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, an official statement said here.
The CCEA also approved Rs 250 crore for Special Plan for development of Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) districts of Odisha.
The BRGF, which aims to catalyse development in backward areas, was approved by the CCEA in August, 2006.
In its present form, the BRGF has two components, namely, district component covering 272 backward districts in 27 states and state component which includes Special Plan for Bihar, West Bengal, KBK districts, Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for selected tribal and backward districts and Bundelkhand Package.
The implementation of the programmes is being undertaken by the state governments, which aim to accelerate socio-economic development in these areas.
The backward areas of the states covered under the state component of BRGF will benefit all the 38 districts of Bihar, eight districts of the KBK region and 13 districts of Bundelkhand region.
These programmes are continuing programmes and were under implementation during the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12).
Putting India's technological prowess to work to bring the entire 1.2 billion population within the reach of government, the widely feted unique identity (UID) project set up by InfosysBSE -0.31 % co-founder Na n dan Nilekani two years ago has so far scanned the irises of 210 million people into a biometric database.
Now, in a more ambitious version of programmes that have slashed poverty in Brazil and Mexico, the government has begun to use the UID database, known as Aadhaar, to make direct cash transfers to the poor, in an attempt to cut out frauds who siphon billions of dollars from welfare schemes.
"We can ensure that the money goes to the correct person and the role of middleman is ended with direct transfer of benefits to the needy," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a crowd of thousands in the Rajasthani town of Dudu on Oct. 20, as he launched the programme, accompanied by the president of his Congress party, Sonia Gandhi.
Following a slew of reforms aimed at jolting Asia's third largest economy from a deep slump, the plan could over medium term bring some order to India's troublesome fiscal deficit by plugging leakages of subsidized grain, fuel and fertilizer.
Two years ago, a McKinsey report estimated such an electronic platform for government payments to households would save up to $18 billion annually - enough to wipe out one-sixth of a fiscal deficit that could hit 6 percent of GDP this fiscal year.
In the next year alone, the government plans to transfer the wages for over 50 million workers in a rural job scheme, along with pensions for 20 million senior citizens and about 5 million education scholarships and some fuel subsidies directly to bank accounts linked with the Aadhaar identity number.
But in Beelaheri, a small village in the Rajasthani region of Kotkasim where the kerosene pilot began last year, hundreds of bank accounts have been set up without referencing the UID database, as the government pushes ahead with the politically rewarding cash transfers before readying Aadhar to identify the correct beneficiaries.
Critics warn good intentions are already being undermined by the hurry ahead of a national election due in 2014 and by vested interests, including bureaucrats and politicians in states, who stand to lose discretion over distributing funds.
The government is aiming for about two trillion rupees ($37.22 billion) of cash transfers under different schemes by March 2014 even if the distribution of the ID numbers is incomplete, according to several media reports.
By lowering costs, Aadhaar could make a planned food subsidy programme that is a pet project of the left-leaning Sonia Gandhi easier to finance, for example.
The Congress party is banking on that programe to help it win a third consecutive term, despite voter anger at graft.
As of now, the UID lies as the victim of flawed policy. Those who had their fingerprints taken and retinas scanned a year ago are clueless about what happens next. Those who missed the first round don't know when they will get a second chance.
"The Aadhaar number will be given out only after biographic, demographic and biometric data are collected and assembled at bona fide camps organised under the Census directorate's National Population Register (NPR) scheme," said Dipak Ghosh, director of Census Operations, Bengal.
Subrata Das, an HR executive with a private firm, proudly flaunted the glossy Aadhaar card when he got it a few days ago. Now, he is rather crestfallen. "We were not told that the document to be issued by UIDAI is not sacrosanct even though it has the Planning Commission's sanction," he said. Neither is he aware that the much-hyped Aadhaar swipe-card project has been shelved and it's the RIC (to be issued to those over 18 years), that is the real thing. Indrajit Chowdhury, who lives in Alipore but got his UID from Bangalore, is equally perplexed. "Are my card and the 12-digit number valid?" he wondered.
"Only after it is cross-checked at a National Population Register (NPR) camp. Data collected in the NPR will be screened for de-duplication by the UIDAI," said Ghosh. He admitted that direct issuance of numbers by UIDAI is faster than the census directorate. So far, not a single UID number has been handed out by the directorate. Bengal is still in the first round of biometrics, where those enlisted during enumeration for the Census 2011 were included. It will be some time before Round 2 is completed. And some more time for the data to be uploaded to create RICs.
Out of 141 wards in Kolkata, 101 have been covered for biometric camps. Officials of the census department and Kolkata Municipal Corporation are visiting households, seeking demographic and biographic data in a form that doubles up as the intimation for attending a biometric camp held in ward offices, health clinics and even local clubs. These camps are held for three days, where those not included in the Census data can enrol, and wait to be covered in the second round early next year. The first round is almost over in Howrah. Biometrics (photograph, fingerprints and iris mapping) has been introduced in all Bengal districts, except Bankura, Purulia and North Dinajpur.
The confusion over UID is, however, no reason to skip the biometric camps. The Aadhaar number is compulsory for every citizen and those who dodge it can be fined Rs 1,000 at least. "But the number doesn't confer any citizenship rights," said Ghosh. It's this barrier that prevents the poor from accessing the services. So far, the number is limited to opening bank accounts or getting a driver's licence.
OB van politics, passing laws won't solve corruption, we need to fix the system: Nandan Nilekani
Politics news, Updated Oct 23, 2012 at 06:03pm IST
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani, in an indirect attack at India Against Corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal, has said laws like the Lokpal Bill cannot help in solving the problem of corruption in India. Speaking to CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghose, Nilekani said, "I think it is not just laws, you need something by which land titling is improved, you need something by which land registration is improved, you need something by which land record reflects actual ownership. You need to have a way of mapping who owns what land."
He also said that the Aadhaar number is a step forward in the direction of solving the problem of corruption. Following is the full transcript of Sagarika Ghose's interview with Nandan Nilekani:
Sagarika Ghose: Hello and welcome to a Face The Nation special. Last weekend the government launched the Aadhaar enable service delivery system. This means integrating the Aadhaar numbers with delivery of government services, integrating the Aadhaar numbers with direct cash transfers to the poor. The government says this will drastically cut corruption, but others say that this is a pre-election gimmick by the UPA. Who better to explain Aadhaar enable service delivery system than Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, Nandan Nilekani. Thanks so much for joining us.
Nandan Nilekani: Thanks Sagarika.
Sagarika Ghose: How will the system actually work - Integrating the Aadhaar number with delivery of government services, integrating the Aadhaar number with direct cash transfers to the poor.
Nandan Nilekani: Well you know the Aadhaar number gives a unique identity and we are doing that so far to 21 crore people and that's an online ID using biometric technology. Now, to that ID you can now attach a bank account. And a government programme like a pension programme or a scholarship can just credit money electronically to the bank account using the Aadhaar number as the address. The person then can go and withdraw the money anywhere from a business correspondent. That's how it will work for cash transfer. The same concept can be done for the PDS, for example, if somebody has a rice account the person can go to the Aadhaar number to authenticate before claiming the rice in the PDS outlet. So both for cash and in kind, Aadhaar enables a better delivery and accurate beneficiary, identification and authentication.
Sagarika Ghose: But Nandan how has the Aadhaar number worked until now? It's been two years since the Aadhaar process started. As you said 20 crore Aadhaar numbers have been given out, 21 crore was the number that was given by the Prime Minister just last weekend. But we find that many government department we not accepting the Aadhaar number. The Reserve Bank of India has gone on record saying that Aadhaar number is not enough to open a bank account. So, is there a problem with government departments accepting the Aadhaar number? And if it's not actually delivering benefits then why should people go for an Aadhaar number?
Nandan Nilekani: I think it is a process, I think we will see more and more proclamations from different departments, over the time it will become the de facto proof of identity and address for many, many schemes, including for bank accounts, mobile connections, other documents. So I think you have to see it as a major transition. First you require enough people to have the number, which we now have reached 21 crore, 210 million, one out five Indians has an Aadhaar number. By next year one out of three will have an Aadhaar number, by yeat after that one out of two will have an Aadhaar number. So that's quite a serious penetration and as It becomes more and more gateway, it's already a gateway. For example, you can get an LPG connection with an Aadhaar number, it's an ID proof of address for SEBI transactions, you can use it for insurance policies, railways it's an ID. So you know over time as we make it more and more…
Sagarika Ghose: But it's an ongoing process, we're not there yet.
Nandan Nilekani: Yeah
Sagarika Ghose: Don't you think you need to spread more awareness in the government departments on the Aadhaar number?
Nandan Nilekani: Which we are doing. I think the fact that we had this major launch last week in the presence of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. I think shows the enormous political and government …
Sagarika Ghose: And what about penalties? Will the government departments be penalised if they don't honour the Aadhaar number?
Nandan Nilekani: Penalise the government department?
Sagarika Ghose: Yes, penalise those who don't honour the Aadhaar number.
Nandan Nilekani: Well I think it is a process because we have to work with different departments, we have to get them to bring out regulations that this is sufficient. So, this is a very major change in the way we do things. I think the fact is that we have used it for cash transfers, at this function we showed examples of old age pension system, pensions in Tripura, MNREGA payments in Jharkhand, you know scholarships and pension in Maharashtra, PDS in Andhra, LPG cash transfers in Mysore. It shows the breadth and diversity of its application.
Sagarika Ghose: You know, on the cash transfer question, there are many who oppose the direct cash transfer, they feel the system more suited to India is the PDS, is the Public Distribution System, cash transfer will not work in a country like India where many don't have bank account where you'll get transfers of money and fitter it away into alcoholism, it will not help the families. The real poor need the PDS, they don't need cash transfer.
Nandan Nilekani: Well I think we have to actually dissect this thing, about 150,000 crores of payments today in India already happen in the form of cash, for example scholarships, pensions, NREGA payments, there is janani suraksha yojna which encourages women to come in for delivery at a PHC and so forth. One part of that is streamlining those electronic benefits and making them much more electronic and deliver directly. So that's a straight thing, it's a cash only but done in a much better way. Then we have direct subsidies on fuel for example LPG and kerosene, as well as fertilisers. There again I think by and large people are fine with cash transfer so that the product goes at market price and people get cash in their account equal to the difference of the price. I think the issue is where there is a debate on food. I think our system allows you to use it for food also. In fact as I was giving the example of what we are doing in Andhra Pradesh, the PDS system using Aadhaar to authenticate the food. So as a platform it is neutral whether it is used for cash or food.
Sagarika Ghose: Aadhaar is neutral whether it is used for cash or food?
Nandan Nilekani: Correct.
Sagarika Ghose: But in terms of cash, obviously the people who will benefit those who have bank accounts. What about people who don't have bank account? How will they benefit?
Nandan Nilekani: Aadhaar first of all allows you to open a bank account, very soon it will be an electronic opening of a bank account. Aadhaar becomes the address by which you put the money into the bank account and using Aadhaar enabled micro-ATMs business correspondents make it easier to withdraw money. All this infrastructure will make banking more accessible. So they go hand in hand.
Sagarika Ghose: So the series of process go hand in hand and they are based on the Aadhar number.
Nandan Nilekani: Yes.