New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi will launch the nationwide Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery on October 20 to plug loopholes in implementation of welfare schemes.

The applications will be launched from Dudu in Rajasthan, marking the second anniversary of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

“This will lay the foundation for cash transfers... The prime minister has already launched an architecture for the purpose,” Nandan Nilekani, chairman of UIDAI, which gives the Aadhar numbers, told reporters Friday.

“Aadhaar as the foundation of electronic transfer of benefits on various social sector schemes should yield significant benefits,” he said.

UIDAI director general R.S. Sharma said the initiative would cover 51 districts in the country by 2013.

Aadhaar-enabled applications will be used for making pension payments, wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Public Distribution System and scholarship payments, he said.

“The benefits range from better compliance management to reduced leakages and increased efficiency and accountability in service delivery,” he said.

Sharma said pilots of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery such as the public distribution system in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, social security payment in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, LPG cylinder delivery in Mysore in Karnataka, MGNREGS payments in Ramgarh in Jharkhand and old-age pension payments in West Tripura district will be telecast live Saturday.

On the occasion, the 21st crore Aadhaar number will also be handed over, said Nilekani, adding that by 2014, around half of India’s population or 600 million citizens would have an Aadhar number.

Aadhar was launched in 2010 to provide an irrefutable proof of identity to all citizens of India making it the world’s largest biometric-based identity database.

UIDAI has spent around Rs.2,000 crore so far on the project, said Sharma.

Aadhaar is an online identity platform that can be accessed in real-time for authenticating beneficiaries and adapted by various user agencies.

The prime minister will also present Aadhaar Governance Awards and Aadhaar Excellence Awards.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of State for Planning, Science & Technology, Earth Sciences Ashwani Kumar and Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology Sachin Pilot will also be present.

Of the six states where the new services will be launched, Tripura was the first to enrol over 90 percent of its 3.7-million population in Aadhaar.

Tripura Gramin Bank too is the first regional rural bank in the country to provide services based on Aadhaar, said an UIDAI official in Agartala.