Skip to main content

Aadhaar a Govt of India marketing success, even World Bank got attracted towards it: Top anti-UID campaigner

By Our Representative
One of the topmost campaigners against aadhaar, Reetika Khera, has admitted that the marketing of the scheme as “a welfare-enhancing, pro-poor, anti-corruption programme has been hugely successful”, adding, things have gone to the extent that, despite contradictory evidence, “the view that it is helping disadvantaged people is hard to dislodge.”
This, says Khera in an interview, has happened because the voices of thousands, or even millions, who are vulnerable, rarely “make it to mainstream media.” Worse, she adds, “The Indian Supreme Court has issued six orders categorically prohibiting the government from making aadhaar compulsory, but neither this nor the previous government have paid heed to the Court’s orders.”
Things, according to her, have gone to the extent that “universal ID numbers, biometrics, the creation of centralized databases, and so forth have become very popular with governments even in countries where those same governments are otherwise inclined to do very little.”
She adds, “Even the World Bank is pushing in this direction (e.g., the 2016 World Development Report was on "Digital Dividends").”
Speaking to Tanu Wakefield of Stanford Humanities Center, where Khera is currently international visitor, Khera says, “Proponents of aadhaar believed that identity fraud (i.e., me pretending to be you) was the main source of corruption in Indian welfare services.”
However, according to her, the fact is, “Quantity fraud (my getting less than my entitlement, typically through the deliberate withholding of a portion of the aid by the distributor) is the bigger beast to worry about.”
Insisting that “biometric authentication can’t fix quantity fraud”, Khera, citing the example of eleven-year-old girl named Santoshi of Jharkhand, who died of starvation last month (click HERE), notes, “Her family was entitled to subsidized rations as part of the government’s food security programme, but because their aadhaar number had not been properly linked to the appropriate database, her family’s name was struck off the rolls.”
She adds, “After Santoshi, three other hunger-related deaths have occurred. After these deaths, for a day or so, this was national news. This is a sad comment on Indian democracy.”
Sulaiman Mutawa Associate Chair in Economics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Khera accuses Nandan Nilekani, “an Indian tech czar”, of “barking up the wrong tree” when he says that “fewer people would be excluded from programmes of social support such as food aid or social security pensions.”
“It was like a cure (biometrics) that was in search of a disease (identity fraud)”, she underlines, adding, “Fraud in welfare is an issue, but it is quantity fraud and eligibility fraud, much more than identity fraud, that plague the system”, she says.
According to her, “A resident’s unique number, stored biometric data, etc., can do next to nothing about quantity or eligibility fraud. Moreover, even the cure is not quite the magic pill that it is made out to be, as biometrics are in fact easily replicated, and therefore can enable identity fraud.”
“Across the Indian states that have linked food distribution to aadhaar biometric demands, increasing numbers of people have reported being unable to access their allocated grain entitlements. These are quite literally the foods that sustain them”, she adds.
She says, “Due to technical failures with the machinery, problems with electrical and cell connectivity, registry mistakes, and the sheer fact that elderly and disabled people must now appear in person to be biometrically identified (whereas previously an elderly widow might have sent a family member or neighbor to collect her rice, for instance), many have been unable to access these desperately needed foods.”

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.