Iris Scans For 1.2 Billion People

Sep 12 2011 @ 7:45am

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It's part of India’s Unique Identification project, also known as Aadhaar, and it could be a major economic boon:

Today, there are as many as 400 million Indians who […] have no official ID of any kind. And if you can’t prove who you are, you can’t access government programs, can’t get a bank account, a loan, or insurance. You’re pretty much locked out of the formal economy.

Today, less than half of Indian households have a bank account. The rest are “unbanked,” stuck stashing whatever savings they have under the mattress. That means the money isn’t gaining interest, either for its owner or for a bank, which could be loaning it out. India’s impoverished don’t have much to save—but there are hundreds of millions of them. If they each put just $10 into a bank account, that would add billions in new capital to the financial system.

(Photo: 15 year old Abdul Haqim poses for a portrait, whilst working at a coal depot shovelling coal on April 15, 2011 near Lad Rymbai, in the district of Jaintia Hills, India. By Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)