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Aadhaar Card whether Bad or Good for Individuals


The Dilemma of the Decade - Pros and Cons of Aadhaar Number

One of the most criticised introductions of the present Indian government has been the new unique identity system it brought in, in association with the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI. Several concerns, related to individual privacy breaches, personal security and leakage of Aadhaar data have been strongly voiced through all social media. Still, just as a coin has, the issue has also got two sides. It is necessary to take a look at the pros and cons of the system before ultimately deciding for or against it. 
Aadhaar logo
AADHAAR


 Aadhaar as Proof of Identity

Aadhaar as a proof of identity was introduced to India in 2009 but the enactment of the act came only later. In 2016, the Aadhaar Act was passed, thus, igniting mire controversies to the  existing list of oppositions. Even though the Supreme Court pronounced Aadhaar as not mandatory for Indian residents on multiple occasions, the government passed a Financial Bill in 2017 which necessitated every Indian to have a valid Aadhaar ID to file tax returns. The failure of this would mean they become criminals under Indian law. This is also an aspect of Aadhaar that was subjected to dire criticism at the time.

Pros

   LPG subsidy distribution was linked to Aadhaar

i. Once a strong Aadhaar database was setup the government issued an order to link Aadhaar numbers to the banks and the LPG connections. This was mandatory for anyone who wanted to receive their LPG subsidies. The subsidy distribution was made completely through banks and the amount was then transferred each month to the account of the individual through their Aadhaar identities. Since direct subsidy distribution made cash necessary at all times, dealings through the bank accounts made the transfers transparent and effortless for everybody. This was part of a Direct Benefit Transfer(LPG) and was called PAHAL. Later amendments made it easier for consumers to receive subsidies by directly linking bank accounts to the LPG numbers.

   ii. The Pradhan Mantri Jan DhanYojna was a scheme introduced through the planning Commission of India, now known as NitiAyog . The enrolments for its benefits very completed in almost a single step if the person used Aadhaar card as the identity proof for the same.

    iii. While it was possible to do the same by bringing about a list of other documents at once, the Aadhaar card and the number along with it made the whole procedure easy and quick. Anyone can thus open a bank account in the quickest period of time. The PMJDY made account holders eligible to benefits of the Rupay card, zero balance savings accounts and accident insurance coverage at bare minimum policy payments among other things.

   iv. Under the latest Passport rules, an Aadhaar card has been made mandatory for getting an Indian passport for everyone in immergency mode, earlier it was for all modes however.

   v. The extra benefit of producing Aadhaar as the proof of identity is that you will be provided with a passport within the next 10 days. It is because with Aadhaar as proof, the required police verification can be conducted at a later time. Thus considerable removes the delay for passports.

   vi. The monthly pensions can now be available s in your bank accounts as long as you have linked your account with the Aadhaar and have furnished the documents for receiving pension in your account before the authorities. This takes off a load of pressure for senior citizens who now won’t have to wait for hours in queues to get their pensions.

  vii. The Indian government recently launched a new digital locker service for its citizens. The digital locker keeps all crucial documents and papers safe in its data bases to be accessed at any time from anywhere as long as you have the access codes. It is a safe and secure way to keep documents at hand. The sign up process to the lockers requires you to have valid Aadhaar credentials compulsorily.

  viii. The SEBI accepts Aadhaar as both a proof of identity and a proof of address.

   ix. To avoid any more bogus voting practices or impersonation while casting votes, the government has recently made it mandatory to link your Voters ID card to the Aadhaar number. The biometric identification system of Aadhaar will thus prevent all malpractices during elections to a great extent.

   x. Provident Funds can be made available in bank accounts by linking the bank accounts to the Aadhaar and furnishing the documents to show this before the authorities.

   xi. The government has introduced a Jeevan Praman for Pensioners which will ensure that the pensioners will no longer have to be physically present to receive their pensions. The Digital Certificate, connected  to their Aadhaar numbers will be enough proof of identity.

  xii. Aadhaar card can be presented as a main document of proof of identity while opening bank accounts all through India. It is being seen as encroachment on privacy of individuals to make them slaves of the corrupt in the government.


Cons

v All the control and power of the huge amounts of data collected by Aadhaar, including the biometric details of entire population, lies with a single authority, the UIDAI. This can be compared to the one-man rule in a nation.
   If a security breach ever occurs all the data stored can go into the wrongs hands at once. The lack of distribution of handling powers might also result in misuse of data by the authorities.

v Since Aadhaar is linked to the bank accounts, at least in case of half of the population, there is the risk of losing personal bank account details if there is a security breach in the Aadhaar data base.

v It is alleged that the use of biometric data and information regarding domicile and residential address is a breach of the basic human rights. If this is so, Aadhaar data collection is an encroachment into the  privacy of every citizen and thus a violation of the constitution itself. Also, the fact that Aadhaar is linked to other documents such as the PAN card and VotersID also mean that any corrupt official within the authority could misuse the information against the owners.

v It is said that the foreign companies that had brought about the idea of Aadhaar initially for a purpose of research and study are still involved in data handling. This increases risk of data leak, that too on an international level. Though Supreme Court has made it voluntary for most of the purposes, but it cannot remain voluntary as when people are forced at actual instances they have to part off with their privacy and make others as their masters. It is like once forbidden by Supreme Court but gradually same situation as government endangering people has relapsed.






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