Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A "Unique" way to fool yourself!!

The government of India some time back, ordered every citizen of its to link their bank details and the household cooking gas booking details to their Aadhar card. The Unique IDentification Authority of India was truly to its name a unique step towards progress, every citizen of the country gets a unique UID(Unique Identification Number) which can be used, 'Anywhere, Anytime.' It is the baby of one of the founding fathers of the Infosys corporation, Nandan Nilekani. The Aadhar card was issued first to Ranjana Sonawane in the Tembhli village in Maharashtra. UID was advertised as a solution to the increasing number of ID proofs like the Permanent Account Number, Voter ID, Ration Card etc.. Good. A great initiative. But it did not go that way. It is a big flop. Lots of money wasted.

Once I turned 18, I started applying for the huge list of ID cards one could possibly carry in this country. First of them was the Aadhar card(okay, one need not turn 18 to be eligible for this!). Next, I applied for my passport. Fresh from collecting my Aadhar, my UID, well I am unique in one way atleast, I wanted to keep Aadhar as a birth proof for passport. But the person at the passport office simply tossed the photocopy of mine with a unique number in the bin (unique again!!) and said that Aadhar would not be accepted. I had to run around cyber cafeterias to get a print out of my birth certificate! No nation in the world could trust that card as an ID proof. I thought it was just the beginning and that things would change. I was wrong.
A year later probably, I went to the bank to apply for my Automatic Teller Machine magnetic card (yeah, the ATM card!) With hopes high, I again took a copy of my Aadhar card only to be taken to a frustrated Probationary officer who said that it doesn't work. However, since I have an account in the bank for which I put a copy of my passport as ID proof, I was saved. I was given an ATM card. Aadhar card could not get me an ATM card! It was just a piece of paper with my face staring out of it!!
One common reason people gave about its rejection at every place like the above two was that Aadhar was flop because of too many fake ones. The government is not doing its duty in issuing the card properly to Indians.

Trying to estimate a little about the amount of money lost due to Aadhar, one can talk about the total number of paid leaves a person took in the country to go to Aadhar issuing center. My father himself took three paid leaves. About five million people might have done the same! All the crores pumped into Aadhar are just a waste. This benefitted none, (including Ranjana Sonawane, the first person to be issued an Aadhar card!) except maybe a handful of greedy people!

Gas bookings and bank details were interlinked using Aadhar. The number of subsidised gas cylinders were cut down to 9 from 12 per year. Each booking was monitored. One had to pay 1000 thousand rupees per cylinder at purchase and the subsidised money were reimbursed later. Why all this head ache? No one new. Maybe that is the reason why the link is cut off now. Gas cylinder bookings are no longer associated with Aadhar. Flop again!! For long, people could not use this UID to get daily rations especially the defense people had a lot of problems with this UID!! Now the latest news is, Aadhar can not be used as a voter ID card too! Thus, successfully, all the promises made vanish into thin smoke.
Now, Nandan Nilekani is contesting in the Loksabha polls from South Bangalore constituency supporting the same government who flopped his idea. By the way below are few uses of the Aadhar.
It has some uses after all!!