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Alan Gelb, Senior Fellow and Director of Studies, Center for Global Development
Anit Mukherjee, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
Digital identification systems are spreading rapidly across the world. In conjunction with mobile technology and financial services, they are now an integral part of digital governance. Aadhaar, the world's largest biometric ID system, has registered 1.2 billion Indian residents achieving almost universal coverage of the adult population. Its scale, ability to uniquely identify individuals, and digital interface make it a compelling identification platform. But these same features also raise questions about privacy, data security, and exclusion.
Within Indian policy circles, the current debate on Aadhaar has been binary in nature: either Aadhaar should be jettisoned or scaled aggressively. However, the facts on the ground—as revealed by our three-state survey on Aadhaar, the largest to date—support a more nuanced approach. At this event, the lead authors of the State of Aadhaar report will share key insights from their team's primary research and facilitate a discussion on the policy implications of the report's findings, for India and the world.