The Modi government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing mobile connection, Public Distribution System (PDS) subsidy, scholarships, gas connection and opening bank accounts is creating severe hassles for citizens. Often one can watch serpentine queues inside banks and mobile gallery where citizens are standing to link their Aadhaar numbers with bank account number and mobile numbers. Senior citizens and handicapped persons are facing severe hardships while linking their numbers as their biometrics often fail. Many of them are finding it difficult to visit banks and mobile galleries due to old age. Even though government has asked enrolment agencies to visit senior citizens houses for re-verification but officials have failed to visit houses of elderly persons. Since third party agencies are collecting citizens demographic and biometric details hence, they are worried about the leakage of these information in public domain.
The state government had asked farmers to submit Aadhaar numbers and bank account details for availing farm loan waiver scheme. Many farmers had submitted these details to the government but the farm loan waiver list contains more than 100 farmers possessing same Aadhaar number and bank account number. Thus, how will the government take steps to weed out bogus beneficiaries? An 11 year old girl died due to starvation after being denied ration for failing to furnish Aadhaar number details in Simdega district of Jharkhand. Officials had cancelled the girl’s family’s ration card as it was not linked to Aadhaar.
Anwar Shaikh, Rehmani Group President, Kandivali said, “We are residing in slum area of Damunagar, Kandivali East. Our documents were destroyed due to fire that occurred in our area in 2015. We are facing hardships to operate our bank accounts due to loss of Aadhaar card. The government should have opened more Aadhaar enrolment centres but they have failed to do so. Even though Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is aware about the fire incident but he has not intervened in this matter.”
Abha Singh, senior advocate and social activist said, “Aadhaar card can plug the leakages in the system by verifying the identity of people. Due to severe corruption most of the schemes launched by the government don’t yield results. The government must take steps to ensure security of data. Even when a person travels overseas his biometrics is verified so Aadhaar is a necessary document to establish identity of a person. Failure on the part of officials to link Aadhaar with ration card resulted into the death of a girl in Jharkhand. Through Aadhaar wages can be directly be credited into the account of beneficiary. Even today fake beneficiaries are claiming pension and Aadhaar can avert these incidents.”
Manoj Shemde Patil, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana activist said, “Poor people are facing hardships due to mandatory linking of Aadhaar. Many people are denied ration due to non-availability of Aadhaar. Farmers are standing in queues to link Aadhaar with bank accounts which lead to loss of productivity. There are less Aadhaar card enrolment centres in rural areas which is causing inconvenience to citizens.”
Umesh Shinde, a farmer said, “Aadhaar card should be made mandatory for those people holding black money. If Aadhaar card is linked everywhere then people’s personal information will be leaked thereby paving way for cyber crimes. Our country lacks proper mechanism to fight such crimes. Farmers can submit their voter id cards instead of Aadhaar and it should not be made compulsory for them.”