UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said plans are on track to issue Aadhaar numbers to 600 million people in three to three-and-half years
Bangalore: One million Indian residents are expected to enrol for unique identity (Aadhaar) number every day from this October, reports PTI quoting chairman of Unique Identity and Development Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan M Nilekani.
"As UIDAI scales up the systems both at the back-end by adding more technologies and at the front by adding more enrolment stations, it is confident of achieving this goal," he said.
Speaking at a conference with the theme 'Next Generation Service Delivery-Enabled by Aadhaar', organised by NASSCOM and UIDAI, Mr Nilekani said as of now 95 lakh (9.5 million) people have been issued with Aadhaar numbers.
Another UIDAI official said the figure is expected to cross one crore today.
Mr Nilekani said plans are on track to issue Aadhaar numbers to 600 million (60 crore) people in three to three-and-half years. He said the entire enrolment infrastructure would stabilise in the next few months, adding, UIDAI has built a massive biometrics-based capabilities.
"We are very comfortable that in the next few months, we will have critical mass of people around the country who will have Aadhaar numbers with them," he said.
He said UIDAI would create for the first time in the country a national devices' infrastructure, which is inter-operable.
Mr Nilekani said devices compliant with Aadhaar standards-whether they are in bank branches, or kirana stores or post offices or in schools or public health centres or anywhere-would be inter-operable.
This means that one can withdraw money from a PC in post office from one's bank account elsewhere.
"This kind of inter-operability across different delivery points...is the first time it is going to happen (in the country)," Mr Nilekani said.
He said Aadhaar numbers would help people in having 'portable health records'-that logs their visits to hospitals-which can be 'locked and unlocked' only by them so that the privacy is maintained.
UIDAI would create a national online identity management platform. With Aadhaar numbers, people have online and 'portable' identity which can be authenticated and verified by across the internet and through mobile phones.
"Aadhaar will increasingly be the basic 'Know Your Customer' (KYC) for a wide variety of products and services," he said.
He said RBI and the finance ministry have already notified Aadhaar numbers to be KYC for opening bank accounts, The Department of Telecom has notified it to be KYC for getting SIM card or phone connection and Oil companies for LPG connection.
Sikkim and Tripura have notified that Aadhaar would be the basis for proof or identity, house address and for availing government services.
Increasingly in the next two-three years, Aadhaar would be the KYC to access a wide variety of products and services, Mr Nilekani said. "In other words, if you have Aadhaar number, that's sufficient proof of identity, sufficient proof of address and sufficient KYC to access that."
It is not just banning entry loads in haste by SEBI that has led to reduced interest in mutual funds. There are many other reasons which exchanges and SEBI tend to ignore
In August 2009, then Securities and Exchange Board of India chief, CB Bhave, introduced the ban on entry load. Nearly two years later, after an outflow of Rs19,549 crores from equity funds (between August 2009 and May 2011) and a decline of 22.61 lakh equity-oriented mutual fund accounts (April 2009 to March 2011), the new SEBI chief, UK Sinha, is planning to incentivise distributors in order to provide "organised and sustainable growth of the mutual fund industry".
This 'experiment' by SEBI has cost the fund industry dearly. But incentivising distributors is just part of the solution to the problem of fund flows. The fact is, retail investors are not interested in equity markets for a variety of reasons, a fact that the stock exchanges and SEBI refuse to acknowledge. SEBI will have to look into other issues as well, attract investors to the fund industry and the securities market as a whole.
One of the main objectives of SEBI is to regulate and develop the securities market. But the apex body has fallen short in doing that and Mr Sinha has admitted as much.
The entry load for mutual funds was banned in order to make it fairer. The move was intended to reduce the cost for investors. But, was the cost for starting investing the only reason for the lack of retail participation? Unfortunately, the SEBI board failed to look at other factors. Among some of the other factors that deter retail investors from putting money in the markets are the unexplained volatility in the market, manipulation of IPOs, poor performance of 40% of funds, several counts of mis-selling, lethargic complaint redressal and lack of financial awareness. A majority of the population, therefore, finds it safer to keep cash lying in savings accounts or fixed deposits. In 1990-91, 32% of household savings was invested in bank deposits. Now that figure has climbed to 51%.
SEBI made the decision to ban entry load in haste, without adequate research, survey or discussions with investors. It failed to judge the cause of the problem. Will SEBI make the same mistake all over again?
We know that the number of equity folios has declined along with the huge redemption of funds, but is the lack of incentives to distributors the main cause for this? Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive research to support the case. For sure, this is one of the reasons, but the board has to address other issues as well.
The SEBI chief also plans to look into the regulation of distributors, disclosure of track record of fund managers by asset management companies, the break-up of institutional and retail money of fund houses and simplifying the KYC norms across its domain. These are good signs that the board intends to take active steps towards regulating the market. But whether the implementation of these plans will attract retail investors back is to be seen.
Moneylife has published numerous articles pointing out the declining retail participation in mutual funds. You may be interested to read: ("Retail interest in equity mutual funds is shrinking";) ("Huge mutual fund outflow points to a much deeper malaise")
RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn stated that food inflation has become a significant negative feature of today’s economic environment, adding that food supply needs to be increased rapidly to tackle the persistent demand-supply imbalances
Chennai: The forecast of ‘below normal’ monsoon rains does not pose ‘too much threat’ to food inflation so long as the country's central part receives close to normal rains, reports PTI quoting a top Reserve Bank of India (RBI) official.
“The central part is where there is lot of concentration of pulses and cereals... If rainfall in that part of the country remains close to normal, I do not think there will be any pressure,” RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn told reporters at the sidelines of a function here.
He said the Met Department’s prediction of 95% rainfall this year does not pose too much of a threat in terms of its impact on food inflation, adding that the RBI was keeping a close watch on cereals, oilseeds and pulses.
He, however, said it was too early to speculate on the impact of the monsoon on food inflation. The IMD has said monsoon rainfall is likely to be below normal at 95% of the Long Period Average, triggering concerns of a serious fallout on agricultural input. However, allaying the fears, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has said the projections are only a shade below the annual average.
Earlier, in his address at the 175th Annual General Meeting of the Madras Chamber of Commerce here, Mr Gokarn said food inflation, human capital, infrastructure and financial inclusion hold the key to India's sustainable growth.
Pointing to reforms measures taken in many areas for achieving sustainable growth, he, however, said action needs to be taken in many more areas on the basis of credible supporting evidence.
Food inflation has become a significant negative feature of today’s economic environment, he said, adding that food supply needs to be increased rapidly to tackle the persistent demand-supply imbalances.
“Production of relevant (food) items has to be increased... Cultivation risk has to be mitigated for farmers to find these products more attractive. Transportation, storage and distribution efficiency has to be increased to keep losses and distribution margins down,” he said.