Unique Identification Authority may be restructured, redefined

Dissolution of cabinet committee on unique identification authority of India indicates further reorganisation in the authority

shivangi-narayan

Shivangi Narayan | June 11, 2014



The Modi led NDA government has dissolved four cabinet committees including one on unique identification authority of India (UIDAI). The cabinet committee on economic affairs will now be its overseeing authority.
 
Though UIDAI maintains that the abolition of the committee is a routine administrative exercise of the government in line of its motto of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’, the move indicates further restructuring in the authority.
 
Previously union home minister Rajnath Singh had also hinted at a merger of UIDAI with national population register (NPR). The latter has a legal mandate to provide a national identity platform, which the UIDAI lacks.  
 
However, officials at the UIDAI claim that Aadhaar will get a legal mandate as soon as the government passes the pending bill in the parliament.
 
Further restructuring and reshaping of the authority, in the shape of dissolution of more committees, is also expected because UIDAI has been mired in controversy since the very beginning. It was not passed by the parliament when it was first introduced in Lok Sabha in 2010 after which it worked on an executive committee order. The parliamentary standing committee on finance led by Yashwant Sinha pointed out specific issues in the bill which, till now, have not been addressed.
 
Lack of data security and privacy riled Aadhaar enrolment with many privacy activists alleging that the intelligence agencies in the US such as the CIA had access to biometric data collected by UIDAI. Lack of a comprehensive data security and privacy law complicated the issue further. Sources in UIDAI claim that Nandan Nilekani, former chairman, UIDAI pushed for the data privacy bill to be passed in parliament but without success.
 
Lastly, the Aadhaar enrolment has had its fair set of issues with Aadhaar cards of trees and tables being generated in some cases.
 
The idea behind a unique identity for all citizens to plug gaps in disbursal of subsidies should not be mixed with the issues it faces on ground. However, a complete restructuration of the authority might help in it actually achieving some of its proposed targets.

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