After much the UPA government’s much hyped ambitious project Aadhar, the Modi government is planning to issue national identity card to Indian citizens on the basis of National Population Register (NPR). We already have several documents like PAN card, driving licence, Voter Id card, Ration Card etc. It has been observed that none of them guarantee evident information about the person to whom it has been issued. The only reason being that all of these ID or address proofs forms basis to one another without any actual independent verification. People make fake address in ration cards.
People can have any address of their choice printed on driving license. Surname is incorrect, father’s name mismatches and even name is misspelled in voter ID card. PAN card carries name with different spelling and date of birth. As a result of these goof ups there are cases where accused are granted parole as they go absconding, seek admission in a college, get selected for a government job and even start working.
We can have our name, date of birth, address of our choice while registering for aadhar card on the basis of the documents cited above. It goes a step further and adds iris and finger prints of the person making it impossible for impersonation. However, does it prevent an immigrant from obtaining an aadhar card? Of course with retina scan and finger prints we can’t claim to be someone else but does that solve our purpose of spending so much money on that farce? We have ended up with so many valid address and identity documents where we have different names, different father’s name, different date of birth and different address.
With the addition of demographic details and already completed house listing in census 2011, the government is aiming to issue the National Identity Card. The National Identity Card will use the data of NPR (which will depend upon the Census 2011 and other projects initiated under NPR) and UIN (Which takes data from so many unverified documents). When there are reports about FIR’s registered by the Election Commission for making Voter card on the basis of Aadhar card issued to illegal migrants, tackling them on such unverified data and a verified house listing seems a far-fetched dream.
Even if we succeed in making a National Identity Card verified with all information it contains, is that all the utility of this document? It’s not about what these cards bring in. It’s about what it doesn’t. What opportunity cost we bear. What could have been done and what we have ended up with. In the absence of real time data of anything related to a common citizen of the country how can we expect to frame policies to be efficient, effective and responsive. There is no data about people who don’t file tax return and number of persons who fall under BPL category.
We don’t know who has become a part of creamy layer. We don’t know who is deprived of basic daily meal, health facility and education. There is lack of data pertaining to those senior citizens who are facing financial problems and has been abandoned by their children. All the information we seek, we accept upon declarations made by people or an attestation from a local body. Even NPR depends upon declarations too.
(This is the first part of the article and the remaining part will continue tomorrow)
Arsh Deep Mahajan