Aditya Murlidharan, Shradhey Parijat Prasad, Nishka Sharma and Ashwini ChhatreDownload PDF
- 1.2 Crore of more than 95% of the Indian population possess an Aadhaar number.
- In NSAP, 35% or 1.1 crore people do not possess an Aadhaar number
- In the event of mandatory Aadhaar for benefits, 2.6 crore people are at-risk of being excluded
- Better governed states have a higher penetration of Aadhaar for NSAP beneficiaries.
- In terms of Aadhaar seeded bank accounts, less efficiently governed states have a substantially higher number of beneficiaries.
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.
In line with our hypothesis of better governance leads to better social welfare implementation, we find efficiently governed states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and others have a much higher level of Aadhaar penetration as compared to less efficiently governed states.
Contrastingly, the less efficiently governed states have a substantially higher number of Aadhaar seeded bank accounts. Most of the at-risk population resides in the better governed states.
The 2.6 crore individuals at risk of being excluded from NSAP translates to roughly 2% of the Indian population.
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