One of the factors that will influence adoption of the unified payments interface (UPI), the enabler of money transfers and payments over the mobile launched last week, over time is Aadhaar—the unique, digital biometric identity of every individual. This April, Aadhaar registrations crossed a billion, or a national coverage of about 85%. However, at a state level, the picture varies.
Notably, in north-eastern states, the Aadhaar coverage is significantly lower than other states. Assam (5%) and Meghalaya (6%) are the lowest. The low numbers in Assam, which has seen a lot of migration from Bangladesh, are on account of time being taken to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which ascertains citizenship.
Although Aadhaar is not intended as proof of citizenship, it aims to exclude non-Indians from its purview. But the delay also ends up harming Indians. As welfare transfers increasingly go cashless, riding on Aadhaar, beneficiaries in these states run the risk of being temporarily excluded from a cash transfer system.
* Percentage of population having an Aadhaar number
Aadhaar data is as of August 28
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are excluded from this list, as AP was bifurcated in 2014, and separate population data is not available
In some states, Aadhaar coverage exceeds 100% as population data is for 2011
States arranged in ascending order of Aadhaar coverage
Data source: Census 2011 (population data), Unique Identification Authority of India (Aadhaar data)