New Delhi: India is trying to make Aadhaar a reality in more than a dozen of its biggest cities, with the government saying it is the first major country to do so.
In the national capital, people are waiting in long queues to get their Aadhaar cards, as they have been unable to do before.
They will be able to get them from April 11 and have them sent to their bank accounts.
In a bid to improve connectivity in a rapidly-changing India, the government has launched a pilot programme to collect Aadhaar numbers and to verify bank accounts and other financial transactions, and has begun to process applications from people who lack such details.
The project will be rolled out in parts of the country, including Delhi, the capital of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh.
The programme is being run in collaboration with the Indian Railways (IR) and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) which are part of the central government.
The NSSO is a central bank-run national statistical agency.
The move comes as the government is under mounting pressure to introduce the national ID number card to help curb the rising use of fake identities in the country.
As a pilot project, the central bank will collect biometric data on people in several areas, including cities, districts and towns.
The data will then be linked with other databases.
The NSSOs data will also be used for identification of people, and for the provision of other services.
At present, only people with Aadhaar numbers can get government services, including free public transport.
In some areas, the programme has led to queues at banks and ATMs.
People have been waiting at banks in Delhi for weeks, saying they are unable to use bank cards because of the lack of the Aadhaar numbers.
“It is not easy to get a card.
I am a senior citizen, so I have no bank account,” said Ashok Kumar, who has been waiting for two weeks at a bank branch in north Delhi.
I have been going to banks for the past two weeks because I cannot use the card, he said.
While there are some small hurdles for people who are unable or do not have the right biometric details, the process is likely to be more difficult for those with Aadhaar cards.
Some government officials are concerned that the pilot will give false hope to people who cannot access banking.
There is no specific provision for people with a lack of Aadhaar to have access to the financial services that are already available in India, said an official from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The central government has also launched a scheme for individuals who do not meet the Aadhaar requirements to get an Aadhaar card, and they will have access for free to public transport and public utilities, and will have their information and biometric information collected by the NSSs.
This will allow the government to track those who lack the Aadhaar information, such as farmers who have not given their full name, a rural person whose identity has not been verified and the poor.
India has a population of 1.3 billion and a total population of 6.6 billion.
It has 1.7 billion people with no Aadhaar numbers, according to a government estimate.
Indian cities are not only seeing a surge in the use of Aadhaar as the country’s population grows, but also the use is also being directed towards a new generation of citizens, many of whom do not yet have the necessary details.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a speech in February, said that people without Aadhaar numbers will be eligible for a free mobile phone and free education.
The government has been under increasing pressure to make the Aadhaar programme a reality.
According to a survey done by Pew Research Center in October, around 60 percent of Indians believe that Aadhaar will have an impact on the country in the next five years.
The number of people who do have the Aadhaar number has risen in the past few years, from less than 10 million in 2014 to more than 16 million in the latest survey, which was conducted by the National Sample Study Organisation ( NSS ) last year.