The bank accounts and ration cards of eligible beneficiaries are linked to their Aadhaar numbers. A bank account can be enabled as AeBA by seeding (linking) it with an Aadhaar number. Seeding makes mapping information stored on the NPCI payment gateway that facilitates the subsidy payment. Seeding helps identify genuine and eligible beneficiaries and prevents duplicate and non-existent persons from registering. Users can link a bank account as self-service option through ATM kiosks, the Internet, bank websites, telephone, or by providing a copy of the Aadhaar letter to a bank.
Prior to Aadhaar, the issues plaguing and derailing social security programs in India were caused by corrupt officials and middlemen manipulating paper records and stand-alone databases of social security services. Due to lack of a unique identifier like Aadhaar, stand-alone databases cannot detect and eliminate duplicate or fraudulent beneficiaries. The most common modus operandi adopted to inflate the beneficiary list is by inserting duplicate entries, non-existent names, and the names of dead and non-eligible people. Attempts are then made to steal the social security benefits money, depriving genuine claimants.
Applicant eligibility is checked by comparing the service delivery database with other databases. For example, PDS kerosene eligibility is checked by comparing the PDS database with the LPG database. The subsidy on kerosene allocation is reduced if the LPG subsidy is detected for that household.
Ration card eligibility is cross-checked with other related, Aadhaar-linked databases. This approach is designed to improve the audit trail, add efficiency and prevent corruption. It results in direct benefit access for eligible people and annually saves billions of rupees from corruption. Tangible benefits became visible from 2014; a report by UBS published in January 2014 showed Aadhaar DBT can save 1.2% of GDP.
Many problems with the PDS ration system exist. There are millions of ineligible and fraudulent ration cards; at the same time, millions of poor families have no ration card. PDS shop owners in collusion with government officials divert the subsidized food supply and petroleum to the black market. Card numbers are inflated by those held under false or duplicate names, in the names of dead people, or by real but ineligible people.