Bring out the key differences between India's Aadhaar and Social Security Number (SSN) of United States while examining the role of former in better implantation of government schemes for vulnerable sections of society.

Published: February 10, 2018

Aadhaar is a pet project of government of India. It has similarities with the Social Security Number (SSN) of US. But it is not entirely same. The major differences between Aadhaar and SSN include

  • Aadhaar is a 12 digit number and SSN is a nine digit number.
  • Aadhaar is linked with biometric data like iris scan and finger print while SSN doesn’t store biometric details.
  • Aadhaar aims for personnel identification, SSN aims at tracking individuals for social security purposes and taxation.
  • Any individual residing in the country for the past six months can obtain Aadhaar number but SSN is for citizens and working foreign nationals in US.
  • Government has seeded Aadhaar with multiple databases thus making it easier to converge the personal information of Individuals across. No seeding of SSN across various databases and the SSN is stored at organizational level.
  • Aadhaar does not have privacy safeguards but SSN assures privacy.
  • Use of Aadhaar is expanding but the use of SSN is getting restricted.

Use of Aadhaar for better implementation of welfare schemes:

  • Helps in reducing the inclusion and exclusion errors which is the major drawback of welfare schemes in India.
  • With the trinity of jandhan-Aadhaar-mobile government is able to implement direct benefit transfer to the beneficiaries. This will help in eliminating leakages and corruption.
  • Aadhaar provided an identification tool for various sections of people who due to the non availability of ration card, voter id or other identity proof were not able to access the welfare schemes.
  • Aadhaar by providing unique identification will favor the motto of minimum government and maximum governance.

Aadhaar has also some serious concerns about privacy. This needs to be addressed so that a fine balance can be achieved between governance and individual rights.

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