After seeing a sluggish restart in May 2012, Aadhaar enrolment saw a jump in January, when the direct benefits transfer (DBT) scheme was launched across 20 districts.
In January, enrolments stood at 24.79 million, against 23.05 million in March 2012. In May 2012, it stood at 4.76 million, rising to 12.56 million in November and 19.47 million in December, owing to the government's push before the DBT launch on January 1 this year.
The latest figures indicate so far this month, enrolments stand at only 9.01 million. Overall, Aadhaar enrolment now stands at 282.66 million.
According to Unique Identification and Development Authority of India (UIDAI) officials, the government's strategy has been aimed at enrolling about 20 million people a month. However, with the help of agencies and departments running particular DBT schemes, enrolment is set to pick up pace, primarily owing to DBT expansion.
In January, DBT was rolled out in only 20 districts across 16 states. The scheme also accounted for seven scholarships. By March 1, this would be extended to 43 districts. It would also cover other schemes.
In the coming Budget, Finance Minister P Chidambaram is expected to outline the road map for DBT coverage after the completion of the first phase by March. Budget 2013-14 is also likely to spell out the government's strategy pertaining to the coverage of critical food, fertiliser, diesel and kerosene subsidy under DBT. Currently, these are out of DBT's ambit.
Though the government has initially allowed cash transfer to the bank accounts of beneficiaries even without Aadhaar numbers, it is expected all such transfers would be shifted to the Aadhaar platform once Aadhaar coverage is substantial and DBT is extended to most schemes across the country.
Aadhaar numbers would be seeded with bank accounts and, in due course, these would become unique identifiers, said a senior finance ministry official.
Earlier, the government had planned to launch DBT in 51 districts, covering 34 identified schemes, from January 1. However, in the first phase, DBT primarily covers scholarship schemes. By the end of this year, the government plans to extend DBT to all schemes across the country.