Trivandrum: Aadhaar was launched in Kerala amidst much fanfare on July 5, 2011. Through Aadhaar, the government proposed the collection of basic demographics and biometric information - photographs, ten finger prints and iris scans – from a person in return for a 12 digit Unique Identification number. Aadhaar was supposed to have made the government more efficient by allowing it to identify the poorest of the poor through their UID number and grant sufficient benefits to this section for their upliftment.
A month ago, Yentha had reported in 'Yentha Special' feature about the controversy surrounding the project with its differences in forms distributed through various centres. Allegation of it having no parliamentary approval to be implemented in the first place, also sprang up. Three months on, Aadhaar is a rarely heard word nowadays.
It came to Kerala quite recently. A slip is given to every person living in a particular ward. On the given date, at the given time, the people are required to arrive at the specified place to have all their details recorded through census, verified and also to have additional details – basic demographics, biometric information – recorded from them. After the process has completed all its needed stages, the person would be given a 12 digit UID number and after a short time, an identity card with a micro chip affixed onto it holding all the recorded details of the particular person is distributed to them, which they are to have with them, at all times.
ITI (Indian Telecom Industry) is carrying out the data collection with both this projects. An ITI official at SFS Parish hall had this to say to Yentha: “There isn't much difference between the two. Both NPR and Aadhaar are more or less the same project with different names.”
Eliminating all the descriptions and definitions, in simple mathematical
terms, Aadhar = NPR – ID card.
Yentha spoke to Rajiv, Deputy Director, Census. “NPR is the more important one of the two. It has been approved by the parliament. The ID card you receive as part of NPR will be your most important document in future. Joining for Aadhaar is optional, as it just gives you your UID number. But joining NPR project is absolutely essential.”
NPR too, is supposed to make the government more efficient in helping
the poorest of the poor by picking them out with precision through the
NPR record, granting them benefits, which are assured to reach the right
people through the 12 digit UID number. In a nation with a literacy
level of 60%, with all of its 'poorest of the poor' in the remaining
40%, how effective is giving a 12 digit number and an ID card with a
micro chip fitted inside it to these people?
Too many puzzling questions with no satisfactory answers and the biggest
puzzle of all is, why the government is spending crores for two very
similar, and to an extent the same, projects which visibly sport quite a
few inaccuracies and loopholes and whose given descriptions can be
termed incomplete and confusing at best.