There have been instances when the data collected through Aadhaar Card has been commercially exploited.
Privacy issues with Aadhaar Card have always been a burning topic despite clear instructions by the honourable Supreme Court specifying the limits to its use. On 24th August 2017 and on 26 September 2018, the Supreme Court in its decision set clear guidelines as to where Aadhaar can be used.
Aadhaar Card – A product of the UPA regime
The genesis of the Aadhaar Card can be traced to the UPA Government (2009-2014) which felt the need to have a nationwide identification system with Biometric data in the form of the Aadhaar Card. At that time many questions were raised as to the need for another Identity Card when there are so many processes available for identification-Pan Card, Bank Pass Book, Voter Card, Kisan Card, NREGA Job Card, Ration Card etc. However, the Congress-led government made Aadhaar card mandatory for many government projects. This was done despite the rejection of the Draft Act by the Parliamentary Committee and a stay by the Supreme Court on making the Aadhaar compulsory for any government scheme.
One of the reasons for bringing out the Aadhaar Card was that the poor and underprivileged will get ration and other benefits under the welfare schemes run by the government. The truth is Aadhaar Card had robbed of their rations due to corruption and bureaucracy. When the needy go to the ration shop; either the link fails or their fingerprints don’t match. There have been instances where the poor were given 10 Kg of grains and their fingerprint taken for 20 Kilograms.
Aadhaar card is troubling the populace in a number of ways. Aadhaar Card has been made mandatory for getting admission into a hospital. Aadhaar is compulsory for getting your child admission to a school. In the Naxalite infested areas of Bastar, Police often demand Aadhaar Card as proof that you are not a Naxalite. The tribal in Jagdalpur has to tread long distances to the district capitals to get their Aadhaar Card. For withdrawing money from E-Mitra or Pragya Center you will have to furnish Aadhaar cards. There have been many instances of fraudulent withdrawal of money using an Aadhaar Card.
Finally, the question of privacy still remains unanswered. There have been instances when the data collected through Aadhaar Card has been commercially exploited. In the beginning, Aadhaar Card was just an identity card. However, later a number of additional information was added into the database. It includes PAN Card, Health Insurance, Telephone Number, Driving License etc.
Today there are talks of linking the Aadhaar Card with Voter ID. The excuse for this exercise is that there are many fictitious voters whose identity has not been verified. But what about those voters who reside in far-flung areas and if their Voter Card is not linked with Aadhaar they lose their right to vote. The situation will be similar to the faux pas which happened when the Ration card was linked with Aadhaar.
Not having an Aadhaar Card, Mistake in Aadhaar Card, Biometric failure – all these are reasons due to which lakhs of Indians don’t get their entitled benefits. The latest move to link Aadhaar with Voter ID is just another attack on the democratic ideals of the nation.