Can Biometric IDs Increase Access to Social Services in India?


By Marcella McClatchey, Staff Editor

A recent New Yorker article profiled Nandan Nilekani (subscription required), the man behind Aadhaar, India’s ambitious new social project that intends to create a biometric database of every Indian citizen. The project, which will give each person a unique ID number, may dramatically reduce corruption, and has the potential to give India’s poor easier access to basics social services including welfare programs, schools, and bank accounts. However, there have also been major criticisms of the program, including issues of privacy, accuracy, and feasibility. It will be fascinating to see the direction that this project takes, and—if it is successful—the solutions it could bring to both developing and developed countries around the world.

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