Excerpts from this interview in Mint with Nandan Nilekani, former UIDAI chairman.
Q - Is Aadhaar a lynchpin or part of the lynchpin?
A - It is very important, it is the lynchpin.
Q - Let us move to the private usage that you mentioned. I remember soon after Aadhaar was launched, you had said in a conversation with me that I shouldn’t see it as a number, I should see it as a platform for applications. So anyone can use it to do pretty much anything. Do you see the new payment companies, e-wallets beginning to use this?
A - Yes, they will start with this. Take the example of IDFC Bank, it’s a new bank. The Prime Minister launched it in October and they did a live demo for him where they got their customers from Madhya Pradesh to withdraw money using IDFC Bank’s state-of-the-art micro ATM using Aadhaar authentication. The device was made by a private company, the user was a private bank, and the data verification was Aadhaar’s.
Today there are many start-ups coming up that will use Aadhaar. So many people are talking about creating Aadhaar-specific funds. So you will have an innovation ecosystem around Aadhaar, just like you have for the Internet or GPS. Just like Internet and GPS, where government-related infrastructure ultimately led to the Facebooks and Googles of the world, Aadhaar will lead to a huge number of start-ups in the next 10 years and many of them will become very large.