The government has approved an expense of Rs 3436.16 cr to implement the fourth phase of Aadhaar, the project which aims to give a unique verifiable online identification number to 1.2 billion Indians.
The fourth phase of Aadhaar project for which the expense has been approved will look to enroll 40 crore residents to Aadhaar’s biometric database by March 2014.
The government said in a statement:
Phase IV of the project will commence immediately. Since the launch of the project on 29th September 2010, UID numbers have been issued to more than 31 crore residents. Enrollment for additional 40 crore residents allotted to UIDAI will be completed by March 2014.
The Unique Identification Authority of India, a government body under the planning commission and headed by technocrat Nandan Nilekani, spent Rs 147.31 cr on the first phase of the project. The second and third phase of the project cost the government Rs 8814.75 crore.
According to one estimate, the project is expected to return $13 billion to the government in benefits over 11 years.
The cost benefit analysis of Aadhaar by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) said Assuming that the government spends Rs 37,187 crore on the project and integrating it with various schemes over 11 years starting from 2010-11, it will get a net benefit of Rs 72,620 crore (about $13 billion) over 11 years. This analysis has also been disputed by many.