Court tells Centre to widely publicise that Aadhaar card was not mandatory. In an interim order till a Constitution Bench decides on the issue, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court ruled that Aadhaar should not be used for availing government welfare schemes other than PDS, food grain distribution, cooking fuel/LPG or for criminal investigation on a court’s direction. The Court, in its interim order, said the Centre should ensure wide publicity through print and electronic media that Aadhaar card was not mandatory. No personal information of Aadhaar card holders should be shared by the authorities concerned. Earlier in the day, the Court referred to a larger bench a batch of petitions to declare Aadhaar scheme as an intrusion into privacy.
The UID/Aadhaar was the biggest scam where few lakh crores of taxpayers’ money was looted by the authorities involved. Everything that government touches stink with corruption. The much touted RTI Act also is a tragedy and every information commissioner should be investigated for corruption/assets disproportionate to known sources of income because it is commonsensical to suspect bribe when the public information officers are not penalised as per the law and let off scot free even when information required to be provided is denied. Certainly, the Government planned a way of looting the exchequer unimpeded. They always find the ways to diminish the treasury. No government is for the service of the down trodden. In the last sixty years, poverty is well maintained to enable more loot. The earnings of the government have been steadily raising but poverty is pegged at a comfortable level to enable more loot. Even if country organized free food for all, and not allowing food grains to rot in the godowns then also you will hear the large scale of deaths due to starvation, because of corruption. MGNREGA would have flourished if it was planned well in advance with elaborate specific schemes, not for digging holes. Five years back, abrupt decision was taken in the election year.
Four years after the Aadhaar was launched – and touted as a panacea to access social services and subsidies – its users continue to be dogged by an array of problems ranging from technical glitches to procedural delays. And those who do not have an Aadhaar card find themselves quizzed by government authorities. Aadhaar card challenges ordinary citizens – both those who have cards and those who do not have – be it from non-availability of application forms or glitches in the biometrics process. Identity fraud is the fastest growing fraud in the western world and everyone has heard of bogus offers from fraudsters posing as legitimate representatives of organizations in an attempt to steal personal and financial data. Data held by banks have been sold by unprofessional call centers to organized crime rackets, which has impacted the lives of many.
Identity fraud has many faces, including the use of lost or dead people’s identity to claim government and social benefits. In India, even the reverse has happened where relatives had used the identity of a person who is living abroad to register him as dead in order to steal the family property. This is about compromising our identity, which can be used against us not only as an individual, but collectively as a nation. Such data if corroborated will be the biggest tool in the hands of foreign MNC’s, who can exploit us as a Nation and enslave us again.
In March this year, the Supreme Court had confirmed that the Aadhaar number was not compulsory, and further, officials who insisted on them would be taken to task. Officials don’t insist directly. It is clearly stated that the service providers such as banks, government services and benefits providing agencies, etc., can insist on providing proof of the Aadhaar Card. On the matter of the petitioner saying, “Personal information would help the State possess unbridled powers over its citizens and provide an easy opportunity to snoop on their private lives”, the State must have laws to prohibit snooping by the State using this data in its custody or providing this information to any other party for any reason. Privacy, indeed, is a right. If the government is serious in implementing Aadhaar, let them withdraw all other identity cards of various government agencies and embed it to Aadhaar.
A MNREGA survey, conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan which was submitted to the government has shown that in 2010-11 the average number of days worked per household in projects covered by the scheme was 45, 37 and 52 for the three states, respectively.