New Delhi, April 10, 2017

‘Poor will not be denied their rights due to lack of aadhaar’

Aadhaar is “robust, safe and secure,” said Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Rajya Sabha here on Monday. He was replying to a short duration debate on ‘Aadhaar — Its Implementation and Implications’.

Prasad assured elders that no poor persons will be denied their rights because of not enrolling into Aadhaar. He, however, added that beneficiaries of all subsidies must enrol into Aadhaar to ensure that benefits are going to the needy people. Citing examples from various districts, he said rights of workers, tribal people and students could be ensured by enrolling them into Aadhaar.

He also told the House that there will be a special drive to revise biometrics so that elder people continue get their benefits based on the Aadhaar.

He maintained that the biometrics will be safe under the Unique Identification Authority.

“Aadhaar is making qualitative changes in people’s lives,” the Minister said.

He said 34,000 operators were blacklisted in the last six years for compromising with the data collected from citizens. “1,000 operators were blacklisted since December, 2016,” he said and added minimum information is collected from citizens and the Centre is not invading privacy of the country’s citizens.

Initiating the debate, NDA MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the UPA government spend thousands of crores on Aadhaar with no debate in or outside Parliament.

“No legislative backing for it and most importantly not one word on legal accountability for the authenticity of this biometric database. As a result, thousands of crores were spent on creating a biometric database, which conducted very poor verification of identities and did not and does not have any details of who was a citizen,” he claimed.
Cong fears

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh feared that Aadhaar is becoming an instrument of exclusion. He said what sterilisation was to the Emergency, Aadhaar seeding is becoming to the Modi government.

“I fail to understand what the logic of making Aadhaar mandatory for mid-day meals is. Is it our case that fraudulent children are being fed? I mean, there could be quantity fraud in schools, not identity fraud. If there is quantity fraud, catch the school teacher, catch the administrator.

“Why are you catching the children? Then, when there is public pressure put on you, you say it is not mandatory as long as you have gone and applied for it. It is as good as mandatory. So, you are not giving anybody a choice,” he said.

[The Hindu Business Line]