The Supreme Court has devalued the famous Aadhaar card by not making it mandatory for the basic necessary services like a gas connection or bank account.
The Supreme Court has devalued the famous Aadhaar card. The apex court has ruled that the Aadhaar will not be mandatory for the basic necessary services like a gas connection or bank account.
While the news has come as a relief for the common man, it is a big blow to the UPA government which worked on the project with Nilekani. It is to be noted that a significant number of people were yet to receive or get their Aadhaar card made. Although the government, banks other financial institutions had made it mandatory for many services.
Interestingly, the ruling has come only a week after the news of former Infosys CEO and UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani joining Congress.
The whole UIDAI project had been widely criticised by the experts and media as well. The very fact that the card was voluntary and not mandatory had been one main aspect of the debate. Not only this, critics also pointed at the vague idea of having another card in common man’s pocket by the government and spending crores on the biometric capturing.
Also, it was duplicacy of the work as home ministry was already working on a project called National Population Register which had similar goals and objectives as Aadhaar. This also triggered a war between home ministry manned by P Chidambaram and finance ministry, headed by Pranab Mukherjee then, who was also the mind behind Aadhaar.
Some had also voiced their apprehension that the government was breaching privacy of the people by creating a database which had all the information about a person.
However, the government moved forward with its resolve and gradually it incorporated Aadhaar as a mandatory card for KYC norms and other services. But the lapses in UIDAI project were not able to cover everybody under the project. Moreover, many people are yet to receive their Aadhaar card from the government for which they got their biometrics data collected months ago.
As of July 2013, Rs 3,062 crore were spent by the UIDAI against the total cost of Rs 12, 398 crore sanctioned to it by the government. The government is undoubtedly responsible for spending so much extra money on a ridiculously long piece of paper which cannot even be called a card because it’s the number which is only important.
It would have been better had these money been preserved by the government which recently infused more social security schemes into the national economy already in a critical state. With the SC ruling, we can be hopeful of a PIL landing soon against the government and UIDAI for further post-mortem of baseless Aadhaar.