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UIDAI success is national progress: Sheila Dixit

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Supriya
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: In what could be a facilitator for financial inclusion, the Delhi government, in association with bankers and VISA, today unveiled Saral Money. This initiative, being leveraged by VISA on Aadhaar platform, will ease money transactions. It could allow people to use Aadhaar for direct money transfers.

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Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit said that it's a historic day, moving forward in banking system. ''Saral Money will bring banking at peoples' doorstep. The financial scenario in the country will change,'' she said. Government subsidies, Dixit said, will be given to the card holders and they don't need to run from pillar to post. The UIDAI success means national progress, she added.

UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said that Aadhaar is based on open programming architecture that allows UIDAI platform embedded into various banking applications. ''The platform can be leveraged for all kind of services such as insurance and pensions,'' he said. This could be done online as well. ''We are laying the platform of fundamental services combining the business model,'' said Nilekani.

RS Sharma UIDAI DG informed that 27 crore individuals have been enrolled while 22 crore Aadhaar cards have been issued so far. Sharma said that they are currently enrolling 2 crore citizens on a monthly basis. ''The objective is to facilitate banking access to the common man. The Saral Money allows people to transact through handheld devices available at local neighborhood shops,'' he said.

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Group Country Manager at VISA India and South Asia Uttam Nayak said that they have enhanced its technology backbone for payment network. ''Aadhaar is the single largest platform to overcome all banking challenges. It facilitates e-KYC that helps in cost reduction to banks and allows instant bank accounts," he said. 600 million people will be enabled with Aadhaar banking by 2013.

UIDAI server authenticates biometrics and all demographics are pushed onto bank server and makes instant individuals' accounts. Aadhaar holders, Nayak said, get access to VISA network in India that has availability at 6 lakh merchant locations. UIDAI scheme will also be linked to micro ATM deployments with biometric access, where customers wouldn't need to carry cards virtually.

Delhi has 1.6 crore Aadhaar card holders. This innovative scheme will also allow Aadhaar-to-Aadhaar direct money transfers. This would further push government's ambitious maternity benefits, pensions and scholarships to Indian citizens. The banks which embraced Saral Money include SBI, Axis Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. This service has been initially started in Delhi and NCR.