Showing posts with label aadhar card launch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aadhar card launch. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How Aadhaar card has made your life easier



How Aadhaar card can make your life easier


Supreme Court allows more instruments to use the biometric card.

Image: Many transactions in the financial sector are finally getting linked to the biometric card. Photograph: Reuters
Soon, linking the employee provident fund account with the Aadhaar card can make life much easier for employees.

K K Jalan, central provident fund commissioner, Employee Provident Fund Organisation, explains: "With the Supreme Court (SC) deciding to allow linking of PF with Aadhaar, it will help us go totally online. We wanted to use Aadhaar to give unique benefits to subscribers, like settlement of accounts through the online method. This can only be done if the account is linked with the biometric card. At present, for claims settlement, we are totally offline."

With the SC adding four more schemes (Jan-Dhan Yojana, Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee, EPF and pensions) where Aadhaar may be used, many transactions in the financial sector are finally getting linked to the biometric card.

Earlier, the use was limited to getting foodgrain and kerosene under the Public Distribution System and for cooking gas.

Image: Aadhaar has been allowed for pension schemes. Photograph: Reuters
Benefit
Says Guru Malladi, partner & leader, advisory services (government & public sector), EY: "For multi-channel service providers this is a welcome step. While there can be no denial of service if one does not have the card, it will help make things simpler for ones who decide to share their Aadhaar details."
For example, as Aadhaar has been allowed for pension schemes, the money can be deposited directly to a pensioner's account.
Even if the pensioner dies, things can move rapidly if his/her nominee's card details are with the department.

At present, it takes three to six months for transfer of such details.
Sushila Pai (name changed) lives with her 92-year- old mother in Mumbai's outskirts.

When her brother who'd retired from a state government organisation passed away, the pension amount was supposed to have passed to the nominee, their mother.

However, as the mother was 92 years and could not travel to the bank or even sign, bank officials had to come every month to get her thumbprint on cheques for withdrawal of pension. Frustrated with the process, the family withdraws the pension once in a quarter or six months.

Even the transfer of pension took over six months because bank officials had to come several times to take the thumbprints.

If Pai's mother had an Aadhaar card and had shared the details with the bank as the nominee of her son's pension, the transfer would have been much simpler.

Image: Usage of Aadhaar will soon be extended to other instruments like purchase of mutual funds. Photograph: Reuters
More products?
When Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi requested the SC to add the opening of bank accounts with a unique identification number, the court would not make more modifications.

However, experts hope this usage of Aadhaar will soon be extended to other instruments like purchase of mutual funds (MFs), insurance policies and so on. Chief executives of MFs believe this development will allow them to exponentially extend their reach.

At present, if distributors have client applications from another city, it is a big problem, as the process of physical verification is long.

Many online distribution companies do video conferencing as physical verification.

Image: The issue is about the authenticity and veracity of the database. Photograph: Reuters
Quiet spread
Backed by the Reserve Bank of India's permission to use Aadhaar, many banks have already started using it aggressively.

Some even insist on the card when one applies for a bank account or loans.
Also, the income tax department is making life easier for taxpayers who are willing to link their Aadhaar while filing returns.

Despite filing a return online, taxpayers had to take printouts of the acknowledgement and send it by post to the department. Now, those who have linked the card need not do it.

The problem
The apex court has not allowed mandatory use of Aadhaar. Without this, most financial institutions will be wary.

However, experts also believe such a development would be premature, for many reasons. At present, the Unique Identification Number covers only 900 million accounts, roughly 75 per cent of the population.

"Once we have reached 90 per cent or more, the courts will look at the government's plea to make it mandatory more favourably," says a tax expert.

 However, it is not only about coverage. Take the case of Anwar Sheikh, an assistant with a law firm, as an example.

He applied for the card, with his family. While the others got their cards in a couple of months, his brother and he did not.

After chasing the department and calling the helpline several times, he was told his documentation had not been received. He reapplied and got his card after a year.

What is more surprising is that when he made contact with the department, he was asked to send the details in a format.

When he did so, there was no response. "How can someone's documentation, eye scan, fingerprints simply disappear from the system? It is what worries me about the idea of a single identity like Aadhaar," says the lawyer.

Image: There is a lot of personal data already floating around. Photograph: Reuters

Voluntary vs mandatory

There is a strong debate on whether it should be made mandatory or not.
Pawan Duggal, cyber security lawyer, feels the government should not do so as of today because Aadhaar is based on biometric information, collected using a computer system. This means it is based on information in electronic form.

It is, therefore, governed by the Information Technology Act, which states that such information needs to have adequate security.

"It's not normal data - it's sensitive personal data. If it's not properly retained and securely maintained, it can be leaked out and the entire identity will be compromised," says Duggal.

Image: It won't be a bad idea to get an Aadhaar card and use it for transactions you are comfortable with. Photograph: Reuters
The bigger problem, as Duggal highlights, is that one doesn't know how the government is complying with the IT Act, as there's no information on data safety procedures adopted. People are clueless on the compliances done under the Act.

Some others feel the privacy issues will be resolved over time. "It is an opportunity for us to review our 70-year-old privacy laws. The security establishment around the card has to be created," adds Malladi.

According to him, there is a lot of personal data already floating around.
For example, with travel to the US and UK, one has to give biometric data even before entering the countries. Many others, like Dubai, seek data for people who are there even in transit. All this data can theoretically be misused.

The issue is about the authenticity and veracity of the database. This is the reason why some financial institutions, like MF companies, are not allowed to accept it as a proof, which can have bigger financial ramifications.

While this debate will be on for some time, or perhaps a very long time, it won't be a bad idea to get an Aadhaar card and use it for transactions you are comfortable with.

What is the Aadhaar case about?
  • After a few government departments made Aadhaar compulsory, several petitions were filed
  • Supreme Court impleads all states and Union Territories in the case
  • The principal opposition to Aadhaar in the SC turns out to be the question of privacy
  • The government's defence: Only basic identity data required
  • SC restrains UIDAI from transferring information to any agency without the written consent of the Aadhaar card holder
  • The attorney-general argues that a Right to Privacy is not guaranteed under the Constitution
  • SC refers the privacy question to a larger constitutional bench
  • A five-judge bench, accordingly, set up to hear the petition
  • Going forward, SC to look at whether there is any Right to Privacy guaranteed under the Constitution

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Guj State Co-op Bank launches RuPay card

amit shah
Gujarat State Co-Operative Bank (GSC) got a new feather in its cap on Tuesday. BJP President Amit Shah inaugurated RuPay ATM and debit card at its head office in Naranpura area in Ahmadabad.
On this occasion, Shah who himself is a cooperator and had been Chairman of co-op banks in the past dwelt on the issue of cooperative movement at length.

The GSC Bank is the apex bank of 18 co-operative banks in Gujarat having more than 1,200 branches across the state. While launching the first ‘RuPay’ ATM and debit card for the bank, Shah said one should not underestimate the capabilities of such banks.

Apart from Gujarat, Shah claimed that co-operative movement is still active in many other states, such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan.

“I know the strength of co-operative movement. This newly launched RuPay card and ATM is just a beginning. Looking at the sheer size and reach of this sector, I am sure that within next 5 years, debit cards issued by co-operative banks will be highest in India,” he said.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Aadhaar not mandatory to open bank account under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan scheme

Beneficiaries display their RuPay cards during the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in Chennai on Thursday.

Account openers will get a RuPay Debit card with an in-built accident insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh and a pass-book immediately.

Opening a savings bank account just got easier and faster. With the launch of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, customers can walk into a public or private sector bank with their Aadhaar card and open a zero-balance SB account instantly. But Aadhaar is not mandatory. A National Payment Corporation of India platform is being built to enable customers to access their accounts on mobile devices. 

Account openers will get a RuPay Debit card with an in-built accident insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh and a pass-book immediately. An additional Rs. 30,000 life insurance cover will be offered for those opening the accounts before January 26, 2015. Also, an overdraft facility of up to Rs. 5,000 will also be permitted for Aadhaar-enabled accounts after satisfactory transaction in the account for six months. 

However, Aadhaar is not mandatory for opening the account under this scheme.A technical platform has been built by National Payment Corporation of India to connect all banks and telephone network operators in the country. The platform is being built to enable customers to access their accounts on any mobile handset.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Can Aadhaar survive without govt backing? Experts discuss

The key question is, if the next government were not actively back Aadhar, has the system created enough mass of benefits for state governments, banks, and the lay citizen to want the scheme to continue?

The unique identity or the Aadhar was one of the high profile projects of the UPA government. By roping in India's smartest technocrat, Aadhar was the UPA's way of using cutting edge technology to transfer benefits in a corruption free manner. But, after five years of backing, last week the government put on hold its program of paying cash on the basis of Aadhar identity to those entitled to subsidised LPG gas cylinders. LPG was the only instance where Aadhar was used to transfer cash instead of subsidies on a national scale and this discontinuation is a big setback to Aadhar.

But, there are bigger dangers bedevilling Aadhar. The Supreme Court has said Aadhar identity cannot be mandatory to get government benefits. The government in the remaining two weeks won't be able to get a law to mandate Aadhar and worse, the BJP has been saying it prefers the national population register to transfer benefits than Aadhar . The key question is, if the next government were not actively back Aadhar, has the system created enough mass of benefits for state governments, banks, and the lay citizen to want the scheme to continue.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18’s Latha Venkatesh, Sanjay Jaju, IT Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, M Balachandran, Chairman of National Payments Corporation, a company that ensures cheaper payment systems between banks and Govindraj Etiraj, former editor of CNBC-TV18, who has served one year as a volunteer in the UIDAI, share their views on the future of Aadhar.

Below is the verbatim transcript of their interview with CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh
Q: As a leading bureaucrat who has used Aadhar in your state just tell us to what extent is Aadhar important for Andhra Pradesh government to transfer benefits?
Jaju: Andhra Pradesh is one state which has actually completed the enrolment for the entire population. More than eight crore Aadhar numbers have been generated for our state and rest of the numbers are in the pipeline. We have also setup permanent enrolment centers for residents to come and update their Aadhar status or for the residual population to get themselves enrolled.

We are the first state also to start the seeding of various beneficiary databases with Aadhar numbers and we were also the first state possibly to have started the direct benefit transfer (DBT), especially with the LPG, NREGA wages and pensions. We had started to make use of Aadhar as a base for DBT. There were challenges, but I am sure this holds a huge potential and definitely has a future for the country.

Q: To what extent do you use Aadhar?
Balachandran: The day Aadhar became an identity kind of thing, the thought process went to the extent that why not it be linked to the bank accounts, so that any kind of payments that could be made from any source more particularly from government\\'s side could be routed through that number with that as an identification. As far as National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is concerned, we are leveraging our national financial switch for routing all the payments which have Aadhar number as an identity. That presupposes seeding of Aadhar numbers in the bank accounts. Today we have about 268 banks wherein this seeding has taken place. We started with a pilot project in Jharkhand in January 2013 and now it has become operational from June 2013.

Q: Approximately how much money or how many transactions? Give me a number as to how many transactions are Aadhar based?
Balachandran: Right now we have about 60 million accounts which have been linked to Aadhar. We have an Aadhar payment bridge as a kind of channel for routing these transactions. Roughly around Rs 2,700 crore have so far been channelized. Every month, in fact in December we had around 11 million transactions routed and January it had gone up to 15 million. What started as a DBT for routing the subsidy for LPG now got expanded to other benefits as well like pension payments, student stipends, so on so forth.

Q: You were telling that it is also getting used by banks for banking correspondence to ensure financial linkages.
Balachandran: Yes, that is another module that we have which is known as Aadhar enabled payment system wherein once the money gets into the accounts of the people either through Aadhar payment bridge or through any other means, now we would like to see that people are able to draw that money through the banking correspondence. For that, we have RuPay as a debit card or ATM card which could be used and the beneficiaries or the account holders go to the banking correspondence.

Q: How widespread is it?
Balachandran: Now around 26 banks have already got themselves enrolled. It is picking up. These people go to the banking correspondence. Use their biometric identification process. Get their account validated through Aadhar number and get the money transferred, that is drawn and even if they have got amounts to be deposited the same system works. Aadhar now as a number identification is used by NPCI.

Q: I get your point that you have been able to have Rs 2,700 crore transferred by the government to intended beneficiaries.
Balachandran: 45 central government and state government departments. 45 departments in the center have been using these kind of accounts.

Q: I want the bigger picture. Where else have you seen the spread of Aadhar?
Etiraj: Aadhar was created for two reasons - one was to give every Indian resident a unique identity, so that is the primary purpose. Of course this identity would be truly portable and mobile which no identity has ever been in this country. Every identity in this country has been linked to either a benefit or an entitlement. Think of the US social security system. It is the only number that you can identify someone with, but it is a benefit or an entitlement that is social security. Similarly in India you have PAN numbers, you have driving licenses, you may have a pension numbers, but it is all a number which is connected to some entitlement or a benefit, so that is the fundamental difference, that this is a unique identity which does not have any property or value attached to it.

The second objective was to make this number truly usable and relevant to people in their daily lives, how do you attach some level of functionality to it. That functionality was authentication, i.e. if I go somewhere and if it is attached or gets connected to some service can I authenticate myself? Once you said authentication there were a host of services which was supposed to be for authentication. What you see as DBT is one such authentication application, the way UID defines it and there are many as Mr. Balachandran himself has pointed out. So that is really the background. It could be to get a telecom card, it could be to even open a bank account which has nothing to do with the transaction. So the whole e-KYC product which UID has launched basically allows people to walk into a branch. There are banks like Axis Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), HDFC Bank, they have all started rolling out. You can go to their branch, authenticate yourself with your biometric and then open a bank account. Earlier opening of bank account meant carrying a whole sheet of papers.
Balachandran: KYC has been a big challenge, yes.
Etiraj: There is authentication. Under authentication comes a whole bunch of applications. Some are to do with delivery of subsidies and benefits. Others are to do with banking. There could be a third element to do with education and a whole bunch of other things which still has to be rolled out as I see it.

Q: In your experience to what extent is Aadhar responsible for the DBT not working, because that was the hue and cry which led to the abandonment of Aadhar being used in DBT?
Jaju: We just heard Mr. Balachandran that more than Rs 2,700 crore have actually being transferred so saying that DBT has not worked will also not be accurate, because amounts have gone. This entire process works on seeding Aadhar numbers in beneficiary databases and this job has to be done by the respective department. Once you seed the numbers then you push those records into the banks and then the banks will ultimately generalise it through the NPCI and then finally the amount gets into the bank accounts.

The challenge here has been accurate seeding of Aadhar numbers, which in many cases could not be done and the reason for that possibly was paucity of time. For a project of this nature to rollout you require time, not just to do the seeding, but to verify that the numbers which have been seeded have been done correctly.
We did not allow that time to be given for this particular project. Second aspect is it has to be done step by step. It cannot be done for the whole country in one go, because the nature of Aadhar enrolment also is not uniform across the country. There are states, there are districts where this has made significant progress and there are states and districts where still the number generation is very poor. So if you are planning to roll it out uniformly you will always face challenges in terms of the numbers being generated and the impact of it or the seeding of those numbers in the beneficiary databases.

Q: You are establishing that clearly it is not Aadhar to be blamed, but probably inaccurate seeding and not enough backing by the respective governments which might have led in several states for the system to not work.
Etiraj: LPG is a very interesting case. LPG was always a very good candidate because it was the oil companies who are equally interested in getting something like this going because they wanted to save on subsidies, so they were almost desperate to add this on.

Q: The sources close to the top management of oil companies said that when they first shared their databases they could read out purely through de-duplication some 10-15 percent of cards. So that was their biggest saving. In their Aadhar related areas if they looked at it where they could delete fake cards and ghost cards, the benefit was more like 2-3 percent, so while they were happy with it they thought that with Aadhar going away they were not really weeping that they are going to lose a lot of money they could have otherwise said.
Jaju: What I was trying to say it is not about the backing. One question you asked was, will a program like Aadhar survive as a voluntary exercise? To my mind it won’t. 

Q:
Yours was the happy case where both the central government and the state government were backing the project. What happens if that backing is removed? Will it be a lot of money wasted? How do you see it progressing?
Jaju: Yes, it would be. A project of this nature would definitely require the backing of the state, because here you are talking in terms of improving the targeting of the various welfare programs that the central government or the state government runs and you are trying to make use of Aadhar as an identity. Seed Aadhar into the beneficiary databases and use authentication mechanisms before you deliver the benefits to the targeted beneficiaries. So to my mind if you look at the post-Aadhar world you have two subsystems. First is the state subsystem, the government subsystem which is around the welfare programs that government run. Unless and until the state backs and not just back, they will have to very aggressively push Aadhar into the beneficiary databases and make this as the sole identifier and authenticate beneficiaries before the benefits are given.

Q: Your sense is the administrative officers will see the advantage of the program, they will back it. Do you think they will want to convince the new political masters of continuing, persisting with it?
Jaju: Obviously yes. We have reached a critical mass. We have generated more than 55 crore Aadhar numbers in the country.
Etiraj: When you say the colour of the next government and that determining whether Aadhar will continue there is no empirical evidence to show that any of the opposition government, if BJP is in the opposition for instance has really gone against it. You can see the top states - Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, West Bengal, they include ruling government and non-ruling government. The point being that there are enough buyers for this in other party ruled governments or states as well and therefore the chances of this going are as good. Having said that, any government can junk any project. We have seen that before and that can happen again if someone so decides, but I think the merits of this in terms of this achieving what it was set out to achieve are pretty clear.

Q: My suspicion is that the banking system or the financial inclusion angle will want Aadhar to continue. What is your sense?
Balachandran: Absolutely. There are two things. One is Aadhar being used as an identification first…

Q: I am asking you to imagine a time when the government may not actively push it. In that case do you think there is enough steam in the banking system to want it?
Balachandran: That is what I have to say that going beyond the DBT this is an identification process where people would like to indentify themselves with this particular number. It could be for opening of a bank account or it could be for drawing of amounts from the bank account or it could be for any kind of KYC process. For instance in NPCI we have initiated e-KYC, that means anybody who has got an Aadhar number can simply step into any bank branch and use that number for getting themselves identified and it is instant. As of now NPCI is providing this service without any fee, otherwise you can imagine how much it becomes a hurdle for anybody to open an account. It is not only for bank accounts and it is being used for all other financial sector transactions.
Etiraj: I think we have to come back to the fundamental point, why was this created? Like I said there were twin objectives. First was to provide every Indian resident a unique identity. The other thing is there is a study which is being done by two professors, one from Stern which says that at least 25 percent of the identities that are being created due to the Aadhar exercise are actually first time IDs. One of the biggest problems in this country is that people do not have an ID or surely do not have a portable ID. If I have an ID which associates me with a certain function or a benefit in the state of Maharashtra it is useless when I go even two districts away, leave alone leaving the state. So that was the fundamental problem. If everyone agrees that this is something that is asset to the future residents of this country then this is something that surely will work.
Latha: There has been opposition to it. One from those who believe that the privacy is violated. There is opposition from those who believe that there is no security of data as well. So these could be advanced as well. nor has Aadhar ever been espoused as an instrument to control corruption. For instance, NREGS payments. NREGS payments can always be leaked out, siphoned out if there is a collusion between the administrative officials.
Etiraj: Since you mentioned NREGS 2.5 million transactions a month are happening to beneficiaries of NREGA. We did not touch NREGA so far, but 2.5 million transactions, in the context of India it is a very small number, but in the context of Aadhar it is reasonable.

Q: What is your hunch? Do you think there is enough private sector use for it or private sector has seen enough use for it to want it to continue?
Etiraj: I look at the number. 570 million Aadhars issued of an active population maybe of let us say 750-800 million assuming the rest are all children and so on who may not use it for a while. I think that is sufficient momentum for demand and push both. Mr. Balachandran spoke about the demand side and my sense is that the demand side will keep increasing. Sanjay Jaju also spoke about the demand side, my sense is that will keep increasing because people like him want to use this to clean up their databases and make their states more economically sound.
Latha: In terms of use, for instance in Chhattisgarh there is enough evidence that smart cards were used in several districts and those have been portable. Wherever there is a POS machine the smart cards could provide grains and they were a cheaper option.
Etiraj: Not necessarily, but that is a different argument. I think smart can never travel out. That is why said go back to the original proposition, national identity that is truly portable and dynamic. None of these things, whether it is a smart card wherever it is is truly portable in that sense except maybe in a limited area.

Q: Do you think this will survive without if the government made it voluntary and not mandatory?
Balachandran: It can still survive because there are multiple uses and people would love to have an Aadhar card.

Q: What is your sense? Do you think state governments will go ahead with it because enough benefit has been seen?
Jaju: I think it has achieved the critical mass and it will be very difficult to junk it by any government. It would definitely require the backing of the government to flourish although it may survive or it may limp, but we need this to flourish, because this has the key to the better targeting of the benefits and to my mind it also allows us to clean up our databases.
Latha: I take your point that it is likely that even without too much government backing, even without a future government saying it is mandatory perhaps Aadhar has come to stay.
Etiraj: As a journalist let me tell you, the beauty of the government project is, one, they can get junked. Other is once you have got something going it is very difficult to stop it. There are lot of things which technically should not be there, but are still running. In this case there is greater agreement that it should be running at least amongst the few of us here as opposed to not running.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Akola district central coop bank to distribute Rupay cards


The Akola district central cooperative bank is set to launch Rupay cards - a debit card for farmers, in the district.

Farmers can use their credit amount to buy seeds, fertilisers and pesticides among other things.
The Akola district central cooperative bank is going to be the second bank in the state to have such card enabled service for its farmers.

The Nabard and National Payment Corporation of India have jointly launched the Rupay card, a platform which provides payment facilities using cards. Currently, such platform is provided by two debit card companies and those are US based.

Akola DCC bank has 107 branches in Akola and Washim districts, as the latter was carved out as a separate district some years back. There are two lakh farmers having an account with the bank, who would get the Rupay card from the bank in the coming week.

The officials stated that such card will not only enable farmers to use their loan amount efficiently but also keep a track of money. The manual withdrawal procedure of money from bank account is getting costlier as the expenses on manpower and infrastructure are increasing. In such a case, electronic transactions are very economical.

The bank is also setting up an automated tailor machine in every branch for farmers' benefit. The Nabard has also funded some companies for producing debit card reading machines which can be given to the distributors of fertilisers, seeds and pesticides. It will keep track of every transaction and if farmers are overcharged, it can be found through electronic bills, the officials said.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Corp Bank launches Aadhar linked card

Corporation Bank launched a new product – Corp RuPay Aadhar Card on Friday. This product is primarily aimed at providing easy and hassle free banking services to the financially excluded and underprivileged sections of the society who have an Aadhar number.

The card can be used at the conventional ATMs, at micro ATMs or the hand held machines used by Business Correspondents and at Point of Sale (PoS) terminals at Merchant Establishments.

The card was launched at o‘Vivek Darshan’ – a musical monologue on Swami Vivekananda’s life, philosophy and thoughts in commemoration of his 150th birth anniversary, at Dr T M A Pai International Convention Centre in Mangalore on Friday.

The musical monologue was performed by Shekhar Sen – a renowned singer, music composer and actor.

Inaugurating the programme, Corporation Bank Chairman and Managing Director Ajai Kumar said, “Swami Vivekananda represents a hope for a resurgent India. Indian Renaissance can truly be said to have begun with him.

'Vivek Darshan’, a tribute to Swami Vivekananda to commemorate his 150th birth year, is a unique ode to this great son of the nation in the form of musical monologue on his, life, philosophy and thoughts.
Corporation Bank intends to create awareness about Swami Vivekananda with the objective of motivating the youth to be confident and action-oriented,” he said.

Kumar also released a booklet in Hindi and English on the philosophy and teachings of Swami Vivekananda on the occasion.

The Bank also released financial support to Shri Ramakrishna Ashram (Mysore) Hope Trust (Kannur), Lady Goshan Hospital (Mangalore) and Navchetan Trust (Mangalore). Executive Director Amar Lal Daultani was present.