India: Reflection on the Work of Parinaam and the Role of NGOs
NGOs have played an important role in the implementation of the Aadhaar program. The Parinaam Foundation, an NGO that works with marginalized populations such as urban migrants and slum-dwellers, is able to reach specific client groups that the Indian government has historically had difficulty finding. In this way, NGOs and other Aadhaar partners have been able to reach India’s masses as well as many of its “last-mile” residents.
Parinaam is an organisation in Bangalore that has been actively working to get marginalized urban populations enrolled with Aadhaar. A core component of Parinaam’s work is their Urban Ultra Poor Program. Through the program, Parinaam works with a group of 30 families over the course of a year to facilitate economic inclusion and financial independence. As part of the program, Parinaam counsels client groups on the importance of identification documents, and helps client families organize the necessary documents to enroll for Aadhaar. Parinaam also works with enrollment agencies to organize enrolment drives. During a one day enrollment drive, they may assist up to 80 clients in registering for Aadhaar.
With the new proof of identification that Parinaam’s clients gain, many of these urban poor now have access to the formal economy and government institutions. Parinaam shares that Aadhaar has allowed over 100,000 of their clients to make bank accounts. Furthermore, many of these same Indian residents are now able to enroll their kids in school (as this usually requires identification to verify date of birth), health schemes, and meal programs as a result of their new, formal, nationally-accepted identification documents. Through their work, Parinaam and other Aadhaar stakeholders have made it possible for a growing number of India’s poor to access essential services and benefits.