Washington, Jan 14: Hailing India's Aadhaar digital ID, the World Bank has said the initiative is estimated to be saving the government about USD 1 billion annually by curbing corruption as it underlined that digital technologies can promote inclusion, efficiency and innovation.
"We estimate that this (Aadhaar digital ID) is saving approximately USD 1 billion (Rs 650 crores) a year by reducing corruption and leakage for the Indian government. It is a help in fiscal budgeting. It is a help in providing other useful services," World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu told reporters here during the release of a report on Digital Dividends.
"India's Aadhaar digital identification system has already reached close to one billion people enabling many of the poor to access services more easily and making it possible for government to deliver welfare services more easily," he said at the World Bank headquarters here.
India is on track to register its entire 1.25 billion population using its Aadhaar digital ID, the World Bank said yesterday. This, it said, would help the government to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in its welfare schemes.
"Technology can be transformational. A digital identification system such as India's Aadhaar, by overcoming complex information problems, helps willing governments to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups," the World Bank said.
"India is on track to register its entire population using its Aadhaar digital ID," the Bank said in its new 'World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends,' authored by Co-Directors, Deepak Mishra and Uwe Deichmann. The report noted that digital technologies can promote inclusion, efficiency, and innovation.
"Digital technologies are transforming the worlds of business, work, and government," said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.
"We must continue to connect everyone and leave no one behind because the cost of lost opportunities is enormous. But for digital dividends to be widely shared among all parts of society, countries also need to improve their business climate, invest in people's education and health, and promote good governance," he said.
Basu said it is an amazing transformation that today 40 per cent of the world's population is connected by the internet.
"While these achievements are to be celebrated, this is also occasion to be mindful that we do not create a new underclass. With nearly 20 per cent of the world's population unable to read and write, the spread of digital technologies alone is unlikely to spell the end of the global knowledge divide," he said.