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Quote on Aadhaar

The (Aadhaar) system in India is the most sophisticated (ID system) that I've seen. It’s the basis for all kinds of connections that involve things like financial transactions. It could be good for the world if this became widely adopted. ...Other countries are also looking at similar programs, but research shows it's best to develop one standardized system so people can carry their IDs wherever they go in the world.

- Paul Romer , Chief Economist, The World Bank


A digital identification system such as India’s Aadhaar, by overcoming complex information problems, helps willing governments to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups.

- The World Bank Development Report, 2016


When it comes to ID systems, India's Aadhaar initiative sets a high bar for the rest of the world. Aadhaar is a state-of-the-art online system that provides unique 12-digit ID numbers to residents of India. These numbers can be used for a wide range of public and private services.

- The World Bank, April 2013

In scale and ambition, India’s unique identification effort is unparalleled. If all goes as planned, an estimated 600 million people – about half of India’s population – will have been enrolled by mid -2014. Such a program underscores how smart public sector investments can dramatically accelerate important economic development and hopefully boost our financial inclusion efforts.

- Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), February 2014

The government has rolled out plans to use Aadhaar as basis for direct transfer of benefits (DBT) to the intended beneficiaries’ bank accounts. This can help plug leakages in the form of fakes/ duplicates and generate huge fiscal savings for the government. Savings in different scenarios could be from 0.2-1.2% of GDP, depending on the schemes targeted (some need political choice) and whether states participate.

- India’s ‘Three Arrows’, January 2014

Aadhaar’s virtue lies in using technology to replace human discretion, while keeping the system simple enough – fingerprints and iris scans – for citizens to understand.

- Economic Survey, 2015-16

…it (Aadhaar) would be the first biometrically verified unique ID implemented on a national scale and would provide the “identity infrastructure” for financial inclusion, as well as for strengthening AML/CFT implementation, delivery of social services, subsidies and other programs and national security, and anti-corruption efforts

- Financial Action Task Force, February 2013

The data shows that the people without good identity documents tend to be lower-income earners.

- Wall Street Journal, April 2012

Therefore, it is increasingly feasible to identify households below the poverty line and give them cash. The new technologies of biometric identification and payments through mobile phones have created a range of new possibilities for the design of programmes.

- Economic Survey, 2014-15

India’s fuel subsidy program, implementing cash transfers to Aadhaar linked bank accounts to buy liquefied petroleum gas cylinders saved about US $1 billion per year when applied throughout the country. This is just one of many subsidy programs in India that are being converted to direct transfers using digital ID, potentially saving over US $11billion per year in government expenditures through reduced leakage and efficiency gains.

- The World Bank Development Report on Digital Dividends, 2016

This could be the greatest poverty killer app we've ever seen.

- Jim Yong Kim, President, The World Bank, April 2013