PwC Finds Aad­haar for Dig­i­tal Dreams

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech -

Price­wa­ter­house­Cooper’s (PwC) re­gional man­ag­ing part­ner for North In­dia and the global con­sul­tancy ma­jor’s gov­ern­ment prac­tice leader, spoke to about the pos­si­bil­i­ties to lever­age the Aad­haar plat­form, the progress of Dig­i­tal In­dia, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by the Novem­ber 8 cur­rency ex­change ini­tia­tive. PwC is in­volved in Dig­i­tal In­dia projects and was a key con­sul­tant to the gov­ern­ment for build­ing the crowd-sourced plat­form, MyGov. Excerpts:

What is your assess­ment of the prospects for Aad­haar in­te­gra­tion in In­dia af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion? Af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion, there has been a surge in the num­ber of Aad­haar en­rol­ments, with De­cem­ber 2016 alone ac­count­ing for 60% in­crease from Novem­ber. This has helped en­hance the ef­fi­ciency of the Di­rect Ben­e­fits Trans­fer pro­gramme. Aad­haar-en­abled trans­ac­tions are cer­tainly play­ing a huge role in con­tribut­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s mis­sion of mak­ing In­dia a less-cash econ­omy built around the BHIM app and the Aad­haar-En­abled Pay­ment Sys­tem. De­mon­eti­sa­tion has trig­gered the surge in the use of Aad­haar, and many other sec­tors are tak­ing cues and ex­plor­ing Aad­haar for dig­i­tal au­then­ti­ca­tion and eKYC.

What are the pre-req­ui­sites to help achieve the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get of in­creased dig­i­tal pay­ments? There was an era in which cash was cheaper than dig­i­tal money and dig­i­tal pay­ments were dis­in­cen­tivised, with sur­charge and ser­vice charges be­ing levied on pay­ments. So, peo­ple pre­ferred to trans­act us­ing cash. Apart from dig­i­tal pay­ment modes, the gov­ern­ment is also con- There are many op­tions avail­able for ex­plor­ing the po­ten­tial of Aad­haar for dig­i­tal au­then­ti­ca­tion apart from eKYC. Some of these could be ho­tel check-in or check-outs, back­ground ver­i­fi­ca­tions, dig­i­tal lock­ers, and e-Sign or mer­chant em­pan­el­ment by fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. If pri­vacy and data shar­ing con­cerns are dili­gently ad­dressed, Aad­haar may be im­mensely help­ful in in­te­grat­ing di­verse data­bases, of­fer­ing a cus­tomised bou­quet of ser­vices to con­sumers. This will be one step be­yond iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and au­then­ti­ca­tion, which is the core pur­pose of elec­tronic iden­tity. This uni­fied data­base could be the source-data for an­a­lyt­ics, help­ing ex­tract in­sights on cus­tomer pref­er­ences and pur­chase pat­terns.

Neel Ratan, ET’s Neha Alawadhi

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