Sinha asked the states to complete the verification exercise “without any further delay.” He also underlined that to address the potential failure of Aadhaarbased authentication, “alternative methods for identifying such persons shall be adopted after finding the causes of failure.”
Economist Ritika Khera said the use of Aadhaar in NSAP was a “terrible idea” that may lead to exclusion and other problems for the beneficiaries. “In an Aadhaar-based system, no one else can withdraw money in a recipient’s account. And the rate of biometric failures is very high among old people. There is zero added value in Aadhaar,” she said.
Khera emphasised that some states send money via the age-old post office money order system or hand it over at monthly panchayat meetings. “When you are dealing with old, fragile people with mobility issues, then sometimes technology can’t give the best results. Some states are doing very well in traditional methods of money transfers in NSAP. What we need is creating awareness about their entitlements,” she said.
Sinha, however, maintained that the government has the means to hand over money to poor, disabled people at their bedside.
He said meetings had been held with the Reserve Bank of India and the Union finance ministry so that women self-help groups can be appointed as banking correspondents to deliver money to beneficiaries in their villages.
“The biggest challenge for any financial inclusion is last-mile connectivity. In places where banks are not available already 3,000 SHG women have been trained to be bank correspondence. Another 2,500 SHGS will be added soon. By end of this financial year, there would be 15,000 to 20,000 women groups working as banking correspondence and earning ₹8,000 to 10,000 per month,” said Sinha.