Study Shows Unique ID’s Reach to India’s Poor (Wall Street Journal)
The data, released exclusively to India Real Time, shows that more than 56% of the enrollees in the program so far did not previously have a “portable ID” such as a passport, driver’s license or PAN (Permanent Account Number) card. And 87% of those households have annual income below $2,000 per year, confirming what many social scientists and journalists have long assumed – that the people without good identity documents tend to be lower-income earners.It's one thing to have an idea and think, "You know? That should work." It's quite another to have evidence that something is working.
Mr. Sundararajan said the results point to “excellent” targeting by the UID program so far. “It’s validation of the fact that this is not a digital infrastructure for the privileged. It’s for the people who aren’t included,” Mr. Sundararajan said.
According to the survey, more than 70% of all households (not just UID enrollees) have no member with a portable ID.
At the very least the data suggest that poor people understand the value of a unique individual ID. They understand that a unique, legally-recognized individual identity is a prerequisite to any sort of decent life. They know it is an asset without which they cannot access many things those who already have an ID take for granted: education, adequate health care, social safety nets, the voting booth. Given the opportunity, they will leap at the chance to get one.
The study's findings are going to make it easier for the poor and other UID supporters going forward.
See also: India turns to technology to extend a guaranteed identity to its poor (CBC)