Monday, March 10, 2014

Aadhar- A Scam of Myths

I recently came to know that Nandan Nilenkani will be contesting for the Lok Sabha elections from Bangalore South against the five time elected BJP MP Anant Kumar. In a larger scheme of things, I now realize why Nilenkani left his high paying job at Infosys and decided to head the UID project. 
For someone as prolific as Nilenkani, to not have weighed the pros and cons of Aaadhar and jumped into the bandwagon of a schematic scam was weirdly unbelievable. With Nilenkani declared as candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, one can only think of how the Congress led UPA government has hit the wall when it comes to scams. Touted as a scam bigger than the 2G, since it was passed through an executive committee outside parliament,  one can only feel extremely disappointed and sorrowful at Nilenkani's political ambitions. And the mountain of lies he had to heap, to reach his goal. 
Despite a Supreme Court bench questioning the scheme's validity and passing an order which said that "No benefit of service shall be denied on account of non-possession of Aadhar and no illegal immigrants would be issued Aadhar. The government drunk by power, is carelessly misguiding the nation by linking Aadhar to essential services like LPG, gas connections, marriage registration, salaries and provident fund disbursal, until the September 2013 Court ruling against it. Since Aadhar is being linked to the NPR or the National population Register, it is stealthily being made mandatory. And nothing is being done to keep a check on this misgiving.

To begin with, it is impossible to roll out a scheme like Aadhar in a country like India. For the many Indians living on the streets this card would only be an added burden. Many of the farmers and laborers do not have fingerprints of good quality, neither do the elderly. People suffering from diseases of the eye and the aged, would not be able to give iris imprints of the quality that a person with an empirically average eye sight can. In places like J & K and the North East it will always be difficult to enroll citizens for Aadhar, because of security issues. 

Then why was it projected as India's answer to SSN or social security number? 
When I had conversations with people I knew it was startling to see, that Aadhar was sought by certain government schools for admission of students for the new academic year. My maid's fourteen year old son and the harassment they faced is a classic example of how the government is spreading hoax in the name of Aadhar. Another lady I met at a meting told me, that her LPG distributor heckled her by not supplying them the gas cylinder, since she didn't possess an Aadhar card. The LPG supplier was not willing to take a look at her other cards of identity to verify her authenticity, like the passport or the driving license. Also, the subsidy took more than six months to get transferred in the absence of an Aadhar.
While me and my family decided not to fall into the traps laid by the UID, a few of my relatives rushed to get the card. An uncle of mine and his family had to reapply for the card, since the details they had furnished got lost from an earlier centre they had enrolled in. On a recent visit to their place, he pestered me to google for the nearest Aadhar enrollment centre and despite, repeated efforts of having a talk with him about the cons of this scam, he was unwilling to budge.  

Aadhar was launched with the vision and mission to check subsidy leakage and reduce the possibility of identity impersonation. Ironically what Aadhar had turned out to be, is a scam that shows more promise for the UPA than 2G, Coalgate or Railgate scams, that have made the ruling party's politicians richer by many crores.

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