Estimating the Impact of Mandatory Aadhaar in the National Social Assistance Programme
The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), launched on 15th August 1995, is a social pension scheme by the Government of India. NSAP has around 3.1 crore beneficiaries across India.
Beneficiaries of NSAP are the most vulnerable section of the society. They include old age people, widows and disabled individuals whose livelihoods are below poverty line. Mandating Aadhaar will require these vulnerable people to have an Aadhaar number as well as a linked bank accounts to be able to receive pensions.
In the event of compulsory Aadhaar, all beneficiaries who do not possess an Aadhaar number or have not linked them to a bank account will be at risk of being excluded from NSAP. In such an event, up to 2.6 crore beneficiaries are at risk of being excluded from NSAP.
While 70% beneficiaries have an Aadhaar number, only 16 % have linked it to their bank accounts. This means that 1.7 crore or 56% beneficiaries cannot avail Aadhaar linked benefits even though they have Aadhaar cards.
Better governance should directly translate to better social welfare implementation. We use VIIRS nightlights data as a measure of governance.
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