India's Unique ID: Largest Social Experiment on Earth

As many as 500 million people in India have no form of official identification, making it difficult for them to access all kinds of public services.

As many as 500 million people in India have no form of official identification, making it difficult for them to access all kinds of public services. The goal of Aadhaar, the world's largest biometric database, is to get every Indian resident a unique ID number. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of the Unique ID Indian Authority, is the driving force behind the program. He hopes that Aadhaar can use technology to "help solve very very fundamental social problems." Specifically, having a unique ID enables Indian residents to collect social welfare payments from the government, such as food subsidies, pensions, and housing benefits from bank agents anywhere in the country with just a fingerprint.

Written and Produced by Jeanette Thomas, January 2014

Countries: