Skip to main content

Aadhaar's image makeover? Govt of India "refusing to divulge" info on amount being spent by UIDAI

By Reetika Khera*
Why is the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) refusing to divulge its advertising expenses? Two attempts were made recently to obtain information from UIDAI on advertising expenditure.
1. Right to Information (RTI) query
On November 15, 2017, the following RTI request was filed with UIDAI:
“According to a newspaper report in 'Economic Times' on July 12, 2014, a new agency was employed for an image makeover for Aadhaar. In this article, it is stated that such agencies were employed in the past also and the tenure of agencies empanelled earlier was over. According to the attached UIDAI documents also, such agencies were employed and some budget was allocation for such branding work.
“Please provide: 1. A List of all agencies that were empanelled since the creation of UIDAI in 2009. 2. For each agency, please provide the amount spent in each financial year.”
On January 3, 2018, the Media Division of the UIDAI denied the requested information, as follows: “The information sought by you cannot be disclosed as per the provisions mentioned in Section 8 (1)(d) and 8 (1)(j) of the Right to information Act, 2005” [8(1)(d) pertains to adversely affecting third party’s competitive position and 8(1)(j) to personal information].
Reetika Khera
2. Parliamentary question in Rajya Sabha
On 27 July, 2018, the following questions were asked (emphasis added):
(a) whether UIDAI has been hiring advertising and creative agencies for publicity and undertaking an image makeover for Aadhaar programme;
(b) if so, the details of such agencies hired since 2014 and the funds spent thereon;
(c) whether UIDAI refused to reveal the details of such agencies hired and money paid to them in an RTI response recently; and
(d) if so, the basis on which this information has been denied? 

The Minister (Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad) replied (emphasis added):
(a): Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) doesn’t hire advertising and creative agencies for image makeover for Aadhaar programme. It carries out only information, education and communication (IEC) activities in order to generate awareness and convey the benefits of the Aadhaar to the residents.
(b): Does not arise in view of (a) above.
(c) and (d): No, Sir. The replies to RTI queries are provided to the applicants as per provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.
Note: In both cases, UIDAI is evading the query. In the first instance, it invokes RTI exemptions. In the second instance, it denies that money was spent on image makeover and calls it IEC. If so, then why did it need to invoke RTI exemptions in the first instance? The fact is that UIDAI has been spending a fair amount on image make-over activities, whether one calls them IEC or something else. Why is it trying to hide these expenses?
---
*Associate Professor of Economics in the Public Systems Group at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, currently on leave from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Comments

TRENDING

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Mayawati's 'success' depends on how BSP taps new crop of young Amdekarite leaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Whatever be the election results in Uttar Pradesh on March 10, it is extremely important to understand: that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader Mayawati have the potential to rise like a Phoenix any time.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

India's actual Covid death rate about 2500 per million, third highest in world: Study

By Rajiv Shah  There is now well-researched proof, if it can be called that, indicating that the Government of India may have fudged data to show lower Covid death rate. A new paper, published in “Science”, has said that while officially the Government of India’s Covid-related death estimates as of January 1, 2022 – 345 per million population – are one-seventh of the US death rate, the actual analysis of crude death rate in India suggests, this may be a gross underestimation. 

Democratic leaders silently greeting Modi's 'increasingly autocratic' rule: HRW

Counterview Desk The Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s new “World Report 2022: Events of 2021”, claiming to “investigate abuses, expose facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice”, has identified India as one of the countries where “autocracy is ascendant and democracy on the decline” because of emergence of leaders with autocratic tendencies.

Barbaric, inhuman attack on Odisha villagers to implement JSW project: NGO networks

Counterview Desk  A “solidarity statement" issued by three top civil society networks, Friends of the Earth India (FoE India), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has asked the Odisha chief minister to ensure that the “inhumane barbaric attack on the villagers of Dhinkia, Odisha” in order to implement a corporate project.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."