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my colleague and friend vikas dhoot and i have this update on the continuing aadhaar and npr saga.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has backed the UPA’s Aadhaar programme for now, but that may not be the final word on whether it will be retained. The government has asked the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which runs Aadhaar, and the census office under the home ministry to test their databases against beneficiary lists of schemes such as the LPG subsidy programme as well as documents such as passports to determine which one is more accurate, said senior government officials aware of the development. “Line ministries in charge of different schemes like education subsidy, LPG cylinders and identity documents such as passports, have been requested to share data to enable this matching exercise,” said one of the officials.
out today, a story on the possible outlook for the upa’s major development initiatives — aadhaar, cash transfers, npr, rights-based legislations, the proposed environment authority, the land acquisition bill — once the modi government takes over.
Investigative journalism portal Cobrapost has aired videos of sting operations that allegedly show the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) conducting a flawed enrolment process that allows people from even neighbouring countries to get an Aadhaar number after paying bribes.
it is hard to escape a sense of deja vu. these complaints — about poor scrutiny, corruption in enrolment, lax overview — have doing the rounds for a long time. but, see them another way, in the light of the assurances given by uidai in 2012 about having fixed deficiencies in its enrolment system, and it is clear that not much has really changed.
today’s ET carries a story that i had written a while ago. essentially, a rising number of government agencies and private companies are moving around collecting fingerprints and iris scans. you always had the UIDAI and NPR. now, you also have different states’ PDS departments, NREGS, banks and their banking correspondent companies, post offices, pension departments, other departments handling scholarships, etc. the story takes a look at the reasons why myriad departments are collecting their own biometrics. and flags concerns about the safety and security of this data.
You might also want to see this column I had written earlier about privacy in an age of biometrics.
another small online story for ET on UIDAI’s new enrolment system. this has been in the works for over four months. what do the glitches they have fixed tell you about how enrolments have been done till now?
The government’s indecision on which of its two arms should capture the biometrics of all 1.2 billion Indians is causing collateral damage. Frustrated by the issue not being resolved quickly and difficulties in the business, Wipro, one of the largest enrolment agencies empanelled with the Unique Identification Authority of India, is considering quitting the business.
It’s a frustration that other enrolment agencies empaneled with the UIDAI — ranging from small outfits with 10-odd kits to larger players like Karvy with 1,000 kits or more — share. And so, drumroll, a little story on why enrolment agencies are nervously awaiting the cabinet’s decision on who should collect biometrics — the UID? NPR? both?
as a followup to last week’s story about india’s spectacularly uncoordinated lurch towards cash transfers, my colleague vikas (dhoot) and i wrote this story about why nandan nilekani’s much-feted uidai is running into fresh opposition. opposition, interestingly, coming from an unexpected quarter — other government departments.
the complete story, here.