As many as 67 crore of the 110 crore bank accounts in the country are now linked with Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.
"Of the 110 crore total bank accounts in the country, about 67 crore bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar," Prasad said. While inaugurating a workshop on Aadhaar services offered by the Common Services Centres or CSCs.
Lauding the contribution of village level entrepreneurs in providing various services, Prasad noted that 22 crore Aadhaar enrolments had been done by the CSCs.
He urged the entrepreneurs not to be deterred by competition from other enrolment agencies and promised that the CSC business model will continue to evolve as more and more government departments look to take new services and schemes to villages through the network.
The minister said while 10 lakh individuals work at the CSCs at present, he expects this number to increase to one crore in coming 4-5 years, as new services and offerings enhance the appeal and utility of CSCs.
"CSCs are providing 300 services today, from GST training to training on digital payments," he noted.
Taking a dig at critics of the unique identification number, the minister said the linking of Jan Dhan accounts with Aadhaar and the mobile number had enabled the direct transfer of subsidies into the beneficiary's bank account. This led to savings of Rs 50,000 crore, an amount that was earlier pocketed by the middlemen.
Digital India drives under Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured that every Rs 100 subsidy to the poor fully reaches the bank account of the beneficiary.
"Rajiv Gandhi had once said, we send Re 1 from Delhi and by the time it reaches the villages it becomes 15 paise. Under Modi government, we sent Rs 100 from Delhi and the poor man's bank account is credited with the full amount. This is digital India," he said.
Terming Aadhaar as "safe and secure", Prasad said it provides minimum information about an individual.
"...It does not give any detail of academic background, medical history, income, religion or caste," the minister pointed out.
He also warned the CSC to be careful in handling data and not share the biometric details of individuals under any circumstances.