WEEKEND LIGHTER: All-purpose Single Identity Number

WEEKEND LIGHTER: All-Purpose Single Identity Number
(December 1-15, 2017)

I-Cover Story


December 15, 2017
All-purpose Single Identity Number
This refers to the report "Deadline to link Aadhaar is now March 31, 2018" (The Hindu Business Line). The piecemeal introduction of additional requirements for carrying out normal financial transactions or availing services make citizens averse to innovations and helps middlemen make an easy buck for providing 'services' which in the normal course should come free. The breathing time until end March 2018 should be used to rationalize and reorganize identity needs of all citizens for all purposes.  
Aadhaar, from the time the idea of "Universal Identity" has suffered from the absence of a 'project approach' in implementation. Politicians, Professionals, GOI, media and social activists have contributed in equal measure in confounding the confusion that was the twin-brother of Aadhaar. Now that the Supreme Court has allowed some time, GOI should professionalize further processes in the implementation of Aadhaar and bring more transparency to reduce suspicion in the minds of citizens. 
All-purpose single identity number for each individual is a still better idea for future. That will solve number portability issues and minimize the irritants like problems arising from spelling changes in names, addresses etc caused by outsourced service providers who manage compilation and processing of data. The present Aadhaar Number should be converted in due course into a basic Single Identity Number for all citizens. With Alpha-numerical prefixes/suffixes the same number should be used for allotting account numbers by banks, issue of documents like passport, Permanent Account Number (Income Tax), driving license, Election Identity Card and so on. Such an arrangement will reduce later confusion and need to verify Aadhaar-linking at different levels by different authorities, besides infusing credibility for Aadhaar.
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram


Reforms with recap

This refers to your editorial “RBI’s justified caution” (Business Standard, December 7). With the Monetary Policy Announcement on December 6 and the media interaction that followed, RBI governor Urjit Patel and his team have given clear signals to the doubting public that this season, RBI has no blurred vision as far as conduct of monetary policy is concerned. Further, the doubts about banking sector reforms including focus on governance issues of public sector banks being aired by economists and analysts have been cleared by the assurance that “we don’t sow the seeds of the next boom and bust cycle of lending”.
On recapitalization, let us take Urjit Patel’s words “Governance reforms in all public sector banks will also feature as a big part of the overall plan” at face value. The observation goes well with the assertion that “The plan will be differentiated across the banks. Recap bonds will be front-loaded for banks that have managed their balance sheet strengths more prudently and can use injected capital to lend besides providing for legacy asset losses.”
One issue where GOI and RBI need to bring more clarity is about the ‘Bail-in” provision contained in the draft Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill. Perhaps, beyond the clarification from the finance minister that depositors’ interest will be kept in view, a clear statement that whatever be the legislative changes under consideration, savers’ deposits will continue to be safe with banks may go a long way in closing an unhealthy debate now open in the media. This is considered necessary, as ‘experts’ are confusing public by mixing words and phrases like ‘taxpayers’ money’, ‘banks’ capital’, ‘NPA’ and ‘deposits with banks’ while commenting on the ‘Bail-in’ provision in the FRDI Bill which is still in draft stage.
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram

Political economics

This refers to  TCA Srinivasa-Raghavan’s brilliant analysis “The economics of bottomless pits” (Business Standard, Marginal Utility, December 2/3). Quite possible, because of the lavish sprinkling of economic theory and sophisticated jargon, lay readers like me may miss the real issues raised. Still, all the concerns shared deserve attention and informed debate.
The concept of ‘mixed economy’ was a joke during the Nehru days. I still remember E X Joseph who worked in Bombay AG’s Office during those days (1963), comparing mixed economy to adulteration of chicken meat with meat from dead horses during war days in Britain. The proportion was 1: 1, one horse for one chicken! He said in mixed economy capitalism and socialism were having that kind of ‘mixing’  (Joseph is now a Senior Advocate in Supreme Court). The role of public sector in India continues to be viewed with derisive criticism.
The public sector in India is being criticized for no fault of the sector. The ownership of PSUs including Public Sector Banks PSBs) is with government which is owned and operated by back-seat driving by the rich and the powerful in the private sector. The private sector leadership, by manipulating government policy, ensures that the management of PSUs remains inferior to that of private sector organizations. The fall of Unit Trust of India and the present stress faced by PSBs with a banking business share of over 70 percent are examples. Organizations like ISRO, Railways and LIC have survived such manipulations because of less HR interference from GOI. That can be attributed to the awareness of the inefficiency of the private sector to manage organizations with social commitment preceding in priority over commercial considerations.
A word about resources. Let us be clear about the fact that both public and private sector organization source funds from public and government has the moral responsibility to protect both types of organizations in public interest. Whether it be taxpayers’ money or funds mobilized from public by corporates, resources need to get the same respect and treatment from the government.
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram


Serving in many ways



Popular posts from this blog


The King of Ragas: Sankarabharanam