Problems in Aadhaar implementation shadow utilities
mbauniverse.com | 14, Jan 2013 0330 IST
Aadhaar number is a 12-digit unique identification number that every resident of India (regardless of citizenship) is entitled to get after he/she furnishes his demographic and biometric information RELATED ARTICLES
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Aadhaar number will serve as a proof of identity, subject to authentication. However, it should not be construed as a proof of citizenship Introducing Aadhaar is passing through a grave crisis of implementation. While the project is an ambitious drive on the part of the government to provide an identity to every resident, it is facing numerous problems so far as implementation is concerned. First, let us discuss what Aadhaar is all about.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number that every resident of India (regardless of citizenship) is entitled to get after he/she furnishes his demographic and biometric information. Demographic information includes the name, age, gender and address while biometric information includes some biological characteristics such as fingerprints, eye scan (Iris scan), etc. No information pertaining to race, religion, caste, language, income or health should be collected.
The Aadhaar number will serve as a proof of identity, subject to authentication. However, it should not be construed as a proof of citizenship or domicile. The Aadhaar number is issued after verification of information collected from individuals. Collected information is stored in a database, the Central Identities Data Repository. This repository will later be used to provide authentication services to service providers.
The government set up an office of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in 2009 within the Planning Commission. In 2010, the government introduced the National Identification Authority of India Bill in Parliament to give statutory status to this office.
Points in favour of the topic (Pros)
1. The implementation of Aadhar has been a subject of severe criticism from various quarters such as Union ministers, bureaucrats, policy experts, activists, and even a few state governments. Procedures for data collection and potential errors therein, concerns over privacy, etc are being questioned. Besides, the existence of an older exercise, the National Population Register (NPR), led by the home ministry, is also posing a threat to the project. Though every right-thinking person accepts the need for creating a systematic database of our citizenry, the path to be taken for this has created a vertical divide.
2. UIDAI’s process of using multiple registrars and enrolment agencies to collect individual data as well as its system of relying on ‘secondary information’ via existing identification documents has become a core debatable issue. The Registrar General of India (RGI), while compiling the National Population Register, pushed for a method of public scrutiny in which individual data is collected directly and put up before the public to weed out any fraud. The method used in NPR helped villagers in Gujarat’s border areas expose ‘strangers’ (from Pakistan) on the rolls when the data was put up for public scrutiny. This reinforced the belief that the NPR process, despite being long and painstaking, is more foolproof. RGI and census commissioner Dr C Chandramouli found the data collection for Aadhaar faulty. According to him, “Our objection is to the data collection by other registrars who have a different orientation from ours. From a security point of view, they are not acceptable.” It was felt that both programs could pool their data and share information. But the home ministry has refused to use UID data for NPR.
3. The agencies say the Aadhaar numbers will be issued in...
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