India’s federal government will coordinate delivery of its ambitious new healthcare plan using its biometric identification card system, according to a new Economic Times article.
Announced only a few months ago, India’s new National Health Assurance Mission (NHAM) asserted a vision of federally-provided, affordable healthcare accessible to all Indian citizens. The plan would provide citizens with 50 essential drugs and 30 AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) drugs, in addition to other healthcare services. It was met with applause and also a bit of skepticism about how exactly it would be implemented, but at least one piece of that puzzle has fallen into place with this new development regarding Aadhaar.
Spearheaded by newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Aadhaar is a national identification system being introduced as part of the government’s Digital India initiative. The plan is to get every single Indian citizen signed up for the identification card, which entails iris and fingerprint biometric scanning. Linking the NHAM to the Aadhaar card system will allow the government to secure itself against fraudulent health insurance claims, and will also provider greater healthcare access to citizens.
It’s an ambitious and impressive plan, and by no means is it the only large-scale application of India’s growing biometric identification database: The government is also using public employees’ Aadhaar cards to track their activities at work; it plans to use the Aadhaar cards to administer food and fuel rations; and it’s going to install biometric scanners at major transportation terminals throughout the country.
October 21, 2014 – by Alex Perala