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AADHAR CRISIS

AADHAAR AS A HURDLE: ON AUTHENTICATION FAILURES AND WELFARE DELIVERY



What happened?

Petition has been filed before the Supreme Court by mother of the victim of hunger death.


What she said ? She stated that their family’s ration card was cancelled as it was not linked with the Aadhaar Card which led to death due to starvation. She has asked for independent investigation for the hunger deaths and claimed compensation.

The Supreme Court has termed the cancellation of 3 crore ration cards by the Centre due to not linked with the Aadhaar card as ‘serious’ and asked the centre to respond to the allegation made in the petition.


WHAT IS AADHAR ???? Unique Identification Scheme


· The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) aims to provide a unique 12 digit ID number to all residents in India on a voluntary basis.

· This ID number will be known as Aadhaar.

· The UIDAI will own and operate a unique identification number database which will contain biometric and demographic data of citizens.

· The scheme has been promoted by the UIDAI as enabling a number of social benefits including improving the public distribution system, enabling financial inclusion, and improving MGNREGS.

· In 2018, the SC upheld the country’s biometric identity system and also cleared mandatory Aadhaar enrolment of recipients of government welfare benefits.

· In 2018, the Supreme Court has upheld the Aadhaar programme upholding it as a reasonable restriction on individual’s privacy to fulfill welfare requirements and dignity.

· The Parliament has passed the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It permits the voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity.

 

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Concerns about the failures in the use of the identity verification project


· Inefficiencies in biometric authentication and updating

· linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, and

· the use of the Aadhaar payment bridge.

· With benefits under the PDS, the NREGA and LPG subsidy, among other essentials, requiring individuals to have the Aadhaar number, inefficiencies and failures have led to inconvenience and suffering for the poor.

· There reports show failures in authentication having led to delays in the disbursal of benefits and, in many cases, in their denial due to cancellation of legitimate beneficiary names.

· The reports from States such as Jharkhand from 2017, suggest that starvation deaths have occurred due to the denial of benefits and subsidies.

· The persons engaged in manual and hard labour, are susceptible to fingerprint changes over time.


Way forward

· The central and State governments would do well to allow alternative identification so that genuine beneficiaries are not denied due subsidies.

· The question of fraud can still be addressed by the use of other verification cards and by decentralized disbursal of services at the panchayat level.



 

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