Aadhaar status check: Nearing a billion

Aadhaar status check: Nearing a billion: Aadhaar now has legal backing but it still faces challenges of privacy and data sharing. With enrolment numbers creating history now, we take a look at strengths

April 1, 2016
Connecting in the air

This refers to the excellent presentation on Aadhaar (Business Standard, Nearing a billion & counting, April 1, 2016). Reaching out to over 70 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population with an identity card is a great achievement in itself. But most of them had ration cards, bank accounts, PAN card numbers, passports or some other documents which had their names ‘printed’ on them. There lies the problem flagged in the second line of the caption: “but connectivity is the problem”.
Call me a sceptic, pessimist or a mere ‘anti-establishment guy’ for saying Aadhaar is just an additional burden on Indian citizen. In a country which finds it tough to track the travel plans of Mallya, which has Rs32,000 crore(this excludes the interest payable on this huge amount since 2011) in inoperative EPF accounts, where the regulator needs six months’ time to prepare a list of defaulters owing more than Rs 500 crore to banks, where CAG estimates a loss of 1.76 lakh crore  in a series of transactions and the Hon Minister is able to argue that the losses cannot be more than zero, where taxes not collected exceed the amount of taxes levied in a year and a dispute about not crediting a few paise (was it 34 or 64?) can make the country’s largest bank spend a princely sum in litigation, I am not convinced that a new series of numbers will be able to ensure the kind of connectivity needed for making those numbers better than the existing database.
Let us pray for the success of Aadhaar experiment. A lot of efforts with conviction have gone into it. But, let us remember, technology is not a substitute for people’s participation which depends on the people’s trust in what they are asked to do.

G Warrier, Mumbai


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