Will Indian PM Narendra Modi’s financial inclusion plan use Aadhaar for authentication?

Monday, August 4, 2014

NEW DELHI: In less than two weeks, PM Narendra Modi is expected to announce a new Financial Inclusion drive.

However, even as the anointed day – the 15th of August – draws near, key aspects of this drive are still unclear.

The programme, called Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan (SVS), seeks to add 20 crore new bank accounts. These will be linked to Aadhaar. They will probably provide an overdraft facility. And they will be used for cash transfers.

Go deeper into the details, however, and you encounter a set of unresolved questions. Prime among them, the role of Aadhaar.

While researching this story, ET reviewed two drafts produced by the Department of Financial Services – one in June, and the second in July. The draft dated 8 July, 2014, says: “This account would be linked with the Aadhaar number of the account holder and would become the single point for receipt of Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) from Government/Local Bodies.”

According to a source close to the UIDAI, who spoke to ET on the condition of anonymity, this phrasing suggests that while Aadhaar numbers might be seeded into bank accounts, it might not be used for authentication.

In other words, once the cash flows into the Aadhaar-linked bank account, last-mile authentication when the money is being withdrawn will be done using the authentication systems of either the relevant bank or the last-mile service provider – like a Banking Correspondent (BC) company.

Source: Economic Times India (link opens in a new window)

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Base of the Pyramid, financial inclusion, financial services, government