Aadhaar is the federal government’s biometric identification system in India, which currently has 820 million residents registered – a phenomenal base – somewhere around 2/3 of the population. By all reports, the basic technologies, both the biometrics and the database, are well thought of and functioning well. Various industries – health, elections, etc. and not just finance – are attaching themselves to the database to take advantage of the proof of identity it provides.
People in the western world may be appalled by this central, government-controlled identity system, with potential threats to individual control over identity. This can be a challenge, for any jurisdiction with strong institutions. But in the developing world, the overwhelming need to have access to a transnational account, and to receive payments meant for them into that account (with low risk of identity fraud) – is more important.