31: Aadhaar

For Using Biometrics to Recalibrate how Indians Interact with their Government—and Beyond

India was having an identify crisis. The country had a large population without formal identity credentials, which often led to issues of fraud or denial of services when someone lacked proper documentation. Government leaders responded with an all-in push on biometrics. Launched in 2009, the Aadhaar database now includes 1.2 billion people—99 percent of all adult Indians. A quick scan of a fingerprint or eye is now part of day-to-day life: picking up a pension payment, filing taxes, voting, signing documents, enrolling in school. More than 3,500 government and non-government services use Aadhaar, and over 1 billion bank accounts are accessed and managed using the system's biometric data.
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