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Aadhaar, 10 Years On: 10 highlights from the largest survey on India’s unique digital identity




The State of Aadhaar 2019 report is based on a nation-wide study that captures the experiences and perspectives of over 167,000 households across 28 states and union territories, making it the largest primary dataset on the use of Aadhaar and more broadly, the use of national digital ID in the world.

NOVEMBER 26TH, 2019, Mumbai, India: Dalberg, a leading social impact advisory group released the State of Aadhaar: A People’s Perspective report today, showing insights that can help drive a data-driven discourse on Aadhaar.

The study reveals how people experience Aadhaar, a universal identity program for all residents in India — how they get it, update it, and use it across various public and private services, as well as their broader sentiments and trust in its use. Additionally, the data show which aspects of Aadhaar are working and which are not.

The research is premised on the principle that the daily users of Aadhaar are best positioned to provide valuable feedback about their lived experience – and therefore practical adjustments needed to improve Aadhaar’s functioning.

The aim of this study is to augment efforts to move towards a more effective digital identity for all residents of India who desire it.

10 Key Findings

 Aadhaar is becoming ubiquitous in India. 95% of adults and 75% of children have Aadhaar.

  1. A notable minority still does not have Aadhaar. An estimated 28 million adults do not have Aadhaar, mostly in Assam and Meghalaya where enrolment has been slow due to questions about legal residency amongst others. Among vulnerable groups, a higher share of third-gender residents (30%) and people who are homeless (27%) do not have the ID.
  2. Updating is the hardest part of the Aadhaar process. One in five people who tried to update their Aadhaar did not succeed. 4% of Aadhaar cards currently have errors.
  3. Aadhaar has supported inclusion. 49% of people used Aadhaar to access one or more services like food rations, bank accounts, and social pensions for the first time. For 8% of people, Aadhaar was their first ever ID.
  4. Problems with Aadhaar sometimes led to denial of welfare services. 0.8% of people experienced exclusion due to Aadhaar-related reasons from a key welfare service (PDS rations, MGNREGS, social pensions) that they had earlier received (versus 3.3% due to non-Aadhaar factors).
  5. Aadhaar has improved service delivery. 80% feel that Aadhaar has made PDS rations, MGNREGS, or social pensions more reliable. Using Aadhaar, residents were 40% more likely to obtain a new SIM card within one day, compared to using other forms of ID.
  6. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, many people find Aadhaar to be de facto mandatory for bank accounts, SIM cards, and school enrolment. More than half of those who used Aadhaar to get a SIM card or bank account said that the service provider accepted only Aadhaar for identification purposes. 0.5% of 6 to 14 year olds could not enrol in school due to Aadhaar-related reasons.
  7. Most people appreciate Aadhaar’s universal acceptance; some have concerns. 72% appreciate that it is a convenient, universal ID; nearly half of those also worry about linking it to too many services.
  8. Most residents are satisfied and trust Aadhaar. 92% of people are satisfied with Aadhaar. 67% of people who have been excluded from a service due to problems with Aadhaar still say they are satisfied. 90% say it keeps their data safe, while 61% say it prevents others from accessing their benefits. 8% worry about its misuse.
  9. Newer digital features are yet to be embraced. 77% have never used features such as mAadhaar, QR code, virtual Aadhaar or masked Aadhaar. Only 39% of residents have the correct mobile phone number linked to their Aadhaar.

The full report can be downloaded at

“The research is not an attempt to adjudicate the ultimate merits of Aadhaar. It is about taking residents’ perspectives into account to help better design and implement Aadhaar. We believe Aadhaar’s success will ultimately depend on how well the program can learn from the experiences and concerns of those who use or are not yet able to use Aadhaar in their daily lives,” said Gaurav Gupta, Dalberg’s Partner and Asia Regional Director.

The report was released at an event attended by Mr. R.S. Sharma (Chairman, TRAI), Justice B.N. Srikrishna (former Supreme Court judge), Ms. Dipa Sinha (Convenor, Right to Food Campaign), and noted journalist Shankkar Aiyar.


Roopa Kudva, Managing Director of Omidyar Network India, which funded the research and the report, said, “We believe that technology, used responsibly, is a powerful force for inclusion. We actively support high quality research as a vital component of system level impact – to help creation and continuous improvement of robust digital infrastructure and technology solutions for inclusion. We are delighted that the rich dataset underlying this very large survey is being made public, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

For more information or requests for interview, please contact: [email protected]

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