It is far more interesting to see what different States are trying to do. We are trying to move to a more Federal model with States doing many things independent of the government. Powerful CMs are leading the way. Another things about state developments is it keeps the stock market hype away. But at the same time the flavors keep changing with some state/states seen as a major reformer at some period to be replaced by a new set later.
As State of Rajasthan is the flavor of the month, here is another interesting program from the Raje govt. This one is called Bhamashah identity card program. It is different than Aadhaar as here each card will have a mandatory bank account and can only be operated by women in the household. The scheme was announced in the earlier Raje Govt. to be scuttled by the next Gehlot Govt only to be revived by Raje again.
The PM recently announced a scheme for financial inclusion upped by Raj CM via the Bhamashah scheme:
If the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) plans to give Aadhaar numbers to all Indian residents, the Rajasthan government promises to go a step further with a card for all female heads of households, to empower them financially.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje launched her ambitiousBhamashah scheme in Udaipur on August 15. The basic difference between the Aadhaar and the state government plan is that the Rajasthan scheme will come to beneficiaries with a bank account.
While Aadhaar is later linked to beneficiaries’ bank accounts, the Bhamashah scheme is a card that comes with a bank account number registered in the name of the female head of the family. Her biometrics are recorded and only she can withdraw money. The process of collecting biometrics has already started and the state government is hopeful of finishing the entire exercise before the end of March.
“We want to put everything on the card. This includes schemes like health insurance, pension, the ration card and other similar things. Each family will be given a card,” Raje told Business Standard.
Raje said the Bhamashah plam had originated between 2003 and 2008, her previous term as chief minister. “We covered five million people under the scheme; this time, we are doing it for everyone in the state. If an individual wants a card, he needs to pay a paltry Rs 20-25. It is a family card but it will be operated by the woman head of the family,” Raje said.
The article lists compares Bhamashah card over Aadhaar and former has some interesting plus points with a more flexible architecture (which can change addresses easily), empowering women, all Raj govt schemes included right away, lower costs and so on.
Will be interesting to see how and whether Aadhaar has a role to play in the State or not. Will other states too bite the identification bullet and build such programs? There is little doubt that States can identify people much better than Centre but this leads to much more confusion as multiple cards proliferate. Each time people migrate from one state to another, different cards will be needed.
Another uncomfortable thing is govts again getting close to banks. I hope we have figured this relationship between state and banks. Attempts have been made in the past to financially include people but has only been converted to loan melas and cheap credit.