15 September 2011

If a lie is told three times ...

I am writing this in response to a response on Aadhaar (UIDAI clarifies on Aadhaar), which itself was necessitated because of a note indicating Aadhaar: on a platform of myths.

If a lie is told three times, then it becomes the truth. However, if a lie is told umpteen times then ...

Faced with this dilemma, I cannot but agree with your observations Sharmaji. I agree that the Aadhaar or Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) cannot be compared with what happened in the UK and the USA. I also agree that India is capable of high-end technology. However, I have some questions from a layman’s perspective.

As the context of India is different from that of other countries, the context of Jharkhand is different from that of Delhi. Have we conducted some pilots or rather a series of pilots to understand the context and implications on service deliveries before agreeing on a mammoth project. If yes, then why is that not being discussed and deliberated?

Has the expenditure of so much money for UIDAI been discussed in the parliament? This is important because we were told about the supremacy of the parliament in the recent deliberations on 'anti-graft'.

It is said that Aadhaar will reduce graft. If that is so, then it might make sense to have a pilot for the beneficiaries of graft and come up with a system of tracing the unaccounted sources of wealth and penalizing them. Instead, I am told that it is targeting people who lost out because of apathy of functionaries through a public private partnership (PPP).

If the enrollment in Aadhaar is voluntary then how will a citizen not enrolled under Aadhaar get her entitlement for different services. If there is no recourse for that citizen, is the proposed system not unfair?

In a liberal democratic set-up, what is the value of privacy? Why is it different in India than it is in the UK or the USA?

If Aadhaar fails to reduce the ills then who will be accountable? Will it be the Prime Minister, the Parliament, the Planning Commission or the People of India?

For an earlier note of mine, see Aadhaar, Radiagate and Cablegate.

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