Aadhaar expands, provides more and more services

Despite SC rulings, Modi government continues to make Aadhaar mandatory for services

pratap

Pratap Vikram Singh | March 8, 2017 | New Delhi


#UIDAI   #Narendra Modi   #supremem court   #SC   #Aadhaar  


Aadhaar has become the most trusted instrument for administering services and subsidies for the government. Stories about Aadhaar being made mandatory for services is a daily routine. This is when the supreme court is yet to deliver its final verdict on whether the 12-digital number can be made mandatory by the government. In a long list of services mandating Aadhaar – namely the employee’s provident fund, public distribution system and scholarship, among others – the government has added a few more.

The ministry of human resource development has set a deadline of June 30 for students to produce their Aadhaar card to receive midday meals in schools. Following HRD’s footsteps, the ministry of women and child development is mooting to make it mandatory for over one lakh homeless children living in about 9,000 orphanages. In another announcement, the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers have given a similar deadline for Bhopal gas tragedy victims to produce their unique identification number to avail compensation.

The government's position on Aadhaar is a clear violation of the supreme court rulings, stating that the unique identification number cannot be made mandatory. The SFLC has made a list of 120 cases where the government has violated the SC ruling between September 2015 and September 2016 (see box). The recent notifications attracted sharp criticism from the civil society. In response, the government issued a clarification on March 7, stating that no one would be denied benefit till the time Aadhaar number is issued. According to lawyer and civil rights activist Apar Gupta, the clarification on Aadhaar reiterates existing notifications like those on midday meals. “You must have an Aadhaar or enroll. Without application you go hungry,” Gupta tweeted.


Moreover, there is no clarity about the impact of Aadhaar on the delivery of these schemes. Making Aadhaar mandatory for midday meal scheme might deprive several lakh children from receiving food in school — a scheme, first introduced at the national level in 1995, which significantly contributed in increasing student’s attendance at schools. It is highly unlikely that the UID integration will lead to the improvement in the quality of food and eatables served at schools and aganwadi centres. It is not very clear how Aadhaar will be used to track the missing children from orphanages. On the contrary, the government has aggressively rebuked public apprehension about the possible use of Aadhaar in surveillance. Even if it is used for tracing the missing children, how effective will it be is not clear yet.



Compiled by SFLC.in, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
 

Aadhaar originally derives its power from the ability to weed out ghost beneficiaries, that is, fake names on record, and multiple beneficiaries. If used with discretion, Aadhaar can plug the mammoth leakages in the PDS, and improve it for the targeted beneficiaries. However, the government at the central and state level are linking it randomly to any scheme and making it mandatory.

The biometric identity system also poses a serious challenge to an individual’s right to privacy. Although the project proponents including former UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani had earlier stated a need for a separate law to safeguard privacy, the present government is going in the opposite direction. It has told the apex court that privacy is not a fundamental right. It doesn’t end there. Recently the UIDAI has filed a police case against ‘unknown’ people who appeared in a video exposing a possible flaw in the Aadhaar authentication system. 
 

Comments

 

Other News

Exclusive Breastfeeding? Yes. Effective Breastfeeding? No. What to do?

Our hearts almost skipped a beat when we heard community health officer (CHO) Dr. Sandeep Kakuste’s success story with baby Pinki Lakhan Patil, who was born underweight in a brick kiln. Pinki weighed 1.7 kg at birth. As she was on exclusive breastfeed she could not have gained weight by any other met

Places of Worship Act: Time for a second look?

A videography survey in the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi this month, along with a similar survey in the mosque in Mathura permitted by a court, has brought the Places of Worship Act under focus after a gap of three decades. In 1991, at the peak of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, the PV Narasimh

Gujarat is key if India is to become $5 trillion economy

The Government of Gujarat had set up a task force committee in February 2022 under the chairmanship of Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, former union finance secretary, to work out a strategy for the state to contribute in making India a USD 5 trillion economy, as per the vision of the prime minister. In three months, th

Why is Lanka in flames: the making of a crisis

This time it was not Lord Hanuman, but the poor decision-making of the political leaders combined with several global economic factors that set Sri Lanka in flames. A state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka. This month, after the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka resigned from his post, the

Growing Up as a Multilinguist

Being and Becoming Multilingual: Some Narratives Edited by Rajesh Sachdeva and Rama Kant Agnihotri

Mumbai civil body refutes allegations of scam in tenement scheme

The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has rejected the Congress accusations of financial irregularities worth Rs 8,000 crore—9,000 croe in awarding contracts for getting project-affected people (PAP) tenements on private land.    BMC has said that it implements vital p

Visionary Talk: Arvind Sawant, Member of Parliament with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter