FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Winning with Aadhaar: Itís a safe and secure platform for good governance and Indiaís digital revolution
Posted:Apr 16, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Aadhaar, the largest digital identity programme in the world, is now being acclaimed as a marvel of India’s technological innovation and prowess. India has developed it for good governance and for serving poor and marginalised people. It is in contrast to other biometric identity programmes in the world, which are mainly used for security, border management and so on.
 
Aadhaar was started, no doubt, by the UPA government in 2009. But its seed was sown by the BJP-led government in 2003. It evoked strong criticisms in initial years – including from courts and from my own party BJP – on issues such as for what purposes Aadhaar will be used or not used, NPR vs 
Aadhaar, citizenship, absence of data protection and privacy measures.
 
When NDA came to power in 2014 it immediately started addressing these issues and finally, in 2016, brought out the historic Aadhaar Act which gave a strong legislative basis to Aadhaar and clearly defined the purposes for which it will be used, while providing strong data and privacy protection measures.
 
Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Aadhaar has made rapid progress. Over 50 crore Aadhaar cards have been issued in less than three years, taking the total number to 113 crore. More than 99% of the adult population has Aadhaar. The present focus is on enrolling children in schools and anganwadis.
 
The government started using Aadhaar in programmes like PDS, Pahal, MGNREGS, pensions, scholarships, etc now extended to around 100 programmes. This ensures benefits reach only intended beneficiaries and cannot be siphoned off by unscrupulous middlemen. For example, Aadhaar based PDS ensures food grain entitlement is given only to deserving beneficiaries and not cornered by corrupt elements.
 
Aadhaar has started producing results. According to our estimates Aadhaar has saved approximately over Rs 49,000 crore in two and half years by eliminating crores of ghost beneficiaries in programmes like MGNREGS, Pahal, schools, PDS. The World Bank, in its Digital Dividend report published last year, has estimated that if Aadhaar is used in all Indian government schemes, it will accrue savings of $11 billion every year through elimination of ghosts and duplicates. World Bank chief economist Paul Romer has acclaimed Aadhaar, saying “it could be good for the world if this became widely adapted”.
 
Aadhaar has also enabled more than five crore people to open bank accounts. Now more than 43 crore individuals have linked Aadhaar with their bank accounts; they can receive government benefits and subsidies directly in their account. Aadhaar enabled payment system has taken banking services to rural and remote areas of the country where there are no brick and mortar bank branches or ATMs. Aadhaar soon will also become a means for making cashless payments through fingerprints for those who are not digitally literate.
 
In addition, Aadhaar is innovatively being used in other services too to empower people, such as Jeevan Pramaan, digital locker, e-sign opening of NPS account, obtaining Pan card and passport.
 
Despite this impressive record, several myths are being spread by critics of Aadhaar. One of them is Aadhaar has been made mandatory in programmes such as mid-day meal, MGNREGS and PDS leading to exclusion and denial of benefits to the poor. The Aadhaar Act has clear provision that no one can be denied services or benefits for not having Aadhaar. Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act is clear – in case an individual has not enrolled for Aadhaar, he has to be provided enrolment facilities and till the time Aadhaar is assigned he is to be given benefits through alternate means of identification.
 
Critics also say that old people and manual labourers are being denied because their fingerprints are worn out and fail to match. Let me say here that Aadhhar allows matching through any of 12 means – 10 fingerprints, two irises which usually takes care of most situations. If a finger does not work, other fingers or iris could be used for biometric matching. In rare cases, when none works, departments have been told to use alternative means of identification.
 
The next myth is that Aadhaar violates privacy of individuals and could be used by private and government entities for linking databases leading to profiling and state surveillance. Misinformation is also being spread about security of Aadhaar. Let me say here that nothing is further from the truth. Privacy and security have been fundamental to system design. Moreover, Aadhaar Act 2016 provides a strong statutory basis for it.
 
Aadhaar has been designed in a such a way that only minimum information is collected and Aadhaar numbers don’t have any intelligence built into them. Aadhaar Act prohibits collection of any information about caste, religion, entitlement, medical history. Further, UIDAI doesn’t collect purpose of the authentication and this knowledge only remains with service providers.
 
Further, Section 29 completely prohibits the use of biometrics collected by the Aadhaar Act for any purpose other than Aadhaar generation and authentication. It also injuncts service providers including government departments from using Aadhaar for any purpose other than specified to  users at the time of collection of Aadhaar numbers.
 
Regarding security of the Aadhaar system, UIDAI uses one of world’s most advanced encryption technologies in transmission and storage of data. As a result, during the last seven years, there has been no report of breach or leak of data out of UIDAI.
 
Aadhaar has established itself as a safe, secure and convenient identity platform which will change lives of 125 crore Indians for the better, and ultimately take India towards a true digital revolution.
 

Source: Times of India, April 17, 2017

 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
Senior representatives from the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan met in Muscat, Oman, on Monday to revive stalled peace talks with the Taliban, but the insurgent group failed to participate in the meeting being held after a year.
 
read-more
Ruskin Bond’s first novel ‘Room on the Roof’ describes in vivid detail how life in the hills around Dehradun used to be. Bond, who is based in Landour, Mussoorie, since 1963, captured the imagination of countless readers as he painted a picture of an era gone by.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
Braid-chopping incidents have added to the already piled up anxieties of Kashmiris. Once again they are out on the streets, to give vent to their anger. A few persons, believed to be braid-choppers were caught hold by irate mobs at various places. They were beaten to pulp.
 
read-more
China has witnessed great historic changes in the past five years from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to the upcoming 19th CPC National Congress.
 
read-more
In a move lauded worldwide, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud recently issued a royal decree allowing women to obtain driving licences.
 
read-more
Recently, United States President Donald Trump kicked the onus of the US backing out of the Iran nuclear deal to the US Congress. The question is how we interpret this technically, in terms of domestic politics and in terms of geopolitics.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive