Legislative backing for Aadhaar: How will it help?

Summary: INTRO and FACTS :

  • legislative backing finally given
  • brought as a money bill, to avoid the defeat of the bill by Rajyasabha as govt is in minority
  • Criticism on privacy issues
  • Govt says its not mandatory,unless the citizens access the subsidy schemes and other govt schemes

Opinions and issues: Experts object it to being a money bill and also contents of the bill.Anyone can have access to AADHAR data, including private bodies. However, it is not mandatory unless the citizen seeks govt services and subsidies. The advantage of AADHAR based services is that it brings in transparency with help of technology enabled service delivery. However, the technology itself is not reliable, for, the biometric data is susceptible to access to private agencies and international intelligence agencies. In states like U.P, some schemes like seed subsidy are being implemented using DBT (direct benefit transfer) without using AADHAR database. Further, the past experiences in some states like Andhra Pradesh show that use of fingerprints is not foolproof and subject to damage like identity mismatch. Furthermore, the concerns raised by the committee headed by former finance minister yashwantsinha have not been fully addressed. The same reasons for which there was opposition earlier continue to be the sticky issues. The critiques opine that there could be practical difficulties in making it cashless and identity issues. The last mile connectivity, especially for the rural populace is suboptimal due to identity issues and this leaves it open to discretion. The biometrics and identity is based on self proclamation of the individual itself. CONCLUSION: AADHAR was intended to be voluntary and is indeed a progressive step for better targeted delivery of services. However, since there are empirical evidences and expert opinions about some concerns like privacy, identity issues, these need to be addressed. Although, the legal backing through a legislation is a welcome move, it needs more scrutiny in terms of the above mentioned concerns. The AADHAR platform needs to be implemented with due caution and technology issues need to redressed.

Probable UPSC Mains questions:

  • AADHAR is the correct manifestation of maximum governance, minimum government. Do You agree?
  • What is AADHAR project? Do You think, it is a revolutionary step in true sense? Give possible solutions to address the concerns of AADHAR.