AADHAAR – ACTION WITHOUT CLARITY OF PURPOSE OR DIRECTION.
A person could be called as a ‘leader’ when he leads a group of people. But if he is leading a group of good people or if he stands for the good cause, the leader will be respected by others even if there is any difference in ideology. If we are looking at the history of India, we can see many great leaders who had fought for the people of the country. The meaning of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” will be true only when our leaders stand with the common man of the country. Otherwise we have to rewrite it as “Government of corporate, by the corporate, for the corporate”.
For the last few years of UPA government, on a daily basis there was news about corruptions or political dramas. I was under the impression that at the time of general election they will be very much careful about the decision makings. Unfortunately, they have proved that they cannot sit without taking decisions which will waste the national resources. [Still don’t understand the purpose of distributing mobile phones for every house. Expect this decision also will be questioned in the court]. As part of the wrong decisions, and criticisms from the courts and people, last week the cabinet has taken the decision to bring the revised bill for giving a legal support for the AADHAAR.
Why the government is so late in taking the parliament approval for such a big project which needs huge cost? When public money is spending why there was no feasibility study and no cost-benefit analysis that preceded the launch of the UID project. After the project was set up, there was a question in the Lok Sabha: "whether any pre-feasibility study or cost benefit analysis was done before the notification for creation of UIDAI; if so, the details thereof."
The prime minister had introduced the National Identity Authority of India Bill in 2010, but this was rejected by a standing committee of Parliament in 2011. Since then, the government has been pushing the scheme through executive action. I think this is the major drawback of the Indian democracy. The central government can do anything with the executive order, even if the decisions required proper discussion and consensus in the parliament. The best example of this was the political drama played by the UPA in related to the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. Even after the assurance to the parliament they have done what they want. Finally, now they are looking for the loopholes in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 to safeguard the interest of USA.
The national identity card is important for any country for the proper administration and also for the national security of the country. But it should be implemented in a more scientific method. I am not with the people who are against the AADHAAR, but I am with their concerns. We have to support the idea of issuing a ‘National Identity Card’ but not in the present form. The government should have planned for issuing a smart card and should collect more information about an individual (including educational qualification). This will help the government to make proper decisions for the administrational purpose, and proper distribution of the resources to the deserving people.
The major drawback of the present ADHAAR can be summarized as follows:
The National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill has not been passed in the Parliament. The Standing Committee in Parliament has rejected the bill. UIDAI has been created under an executive order, even though the expected cost of the project is above Rs 180,000,000,000 (18,000 crore). Then how it could be forced on the country?
Why is AADHAAR necessary when we have other proofs of identity? The government’s main excuse for AADHAAR was “BPL card holders being cheated in the government schemes”. If it was the real fact why the government cannot make biometrics into the BPL card, which will be much cheaper exercise than doing it for the whole population.
The central government and the NIDAI Draft Bill says that AADHAAR is not compulsory, yet several government agencies have made it compulsory for delivery of services and even for school admission, Salary, Marriage registration etc.
Collection of biometrics cannot be done without a law being enacted for it’s a safeguard to protect, prevent tampering, siphoning of such large scale private data. When there is no legislation, there can be no law. Without a law, there is no offence for any violation committed.
Finally, if I quote the words of the parliament standing committee “the UID scheme has been conceptualized with no clarity of purpose and leaving many things to be sorted out during the course of its implementation; and is being implemented in a directionless way with a lot of confusion”.
I would like to conclude with the following concerns on AADHAAR:
Whose servers the collected details of public are stored, Government or private entities? If data is stored on some IT company data storage network, who owns the data? Can the IT company staff and its management have access to the data? If yes, to what extent? Who are authorized to access the data, modify and delete? Does the police departments of all states of India are authorized to access and use the details of persons? If the police department requires aadhar details of a person do they have to seek written permission stating the purpose and who is authorized to give such permission? Since the government is saying that the AADHAAR is not compulsory, does the aadhar give the option of destroying all the data at the request of citizen’s who have already been enrolled?
Note: Uran Police has caught 21 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from a village of Uran in Navi Mumbai. The shocking fact is that many of these caught people have AADHAAR card and voter card issued in their name.
CA Vinod Valooparambil, Kuwait.