In India, 40% of people have no means of identification. As a result, many who are entitled to receive government benefits fail to receive them. In August 2009 the Government of India initiated the Unique ID project to change that. The project is designed to enroll all 1.2 billion people who live in India, half of them by 2014, providing them with a unique ID using biometric information.
In this interview, Mr Ashok Singh, Deputy Director General of the Unique Identification Authority of India talks about the goals of the project, and how full financial inclusion was built into its design. Every new enrollee is offered a bank account, and to date 84% of people have taken up the offer. For India?s growth to be sustainable, says Singh, the poor must benefit, and Unique ID is perceived to be an instrument to get poor people included and make them part of India’s growth story.