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From the Diary of an Aam Aadmi:

I’m a patriotic, tax-paying citizen of India. As a child, I was punished for not carrying my ID card to school. Fair enough, I thought, the ID had my name and my parents’ contact details for emergencies. But I’m all grown up now – surely I don’t need to carry an ID (read Aadhaar card) for emergencies. Especially when I already have a PAN card!

Why then, is the government making it mandatory to apply for the Aadhaar and link it to my private data?

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The Aadhaar Promise

It all started with a big bang and promises of having a one-stop ID, similar to America’s SSN (social security number).

I didn’t want to lose out on the so-called benefits of an Aadhaar – like LPG subsidy, quick passport processing, and the Jan Dhan Yojna – so I immediately booked an appointment and visited a nearby Aadhaar centre.

Now for some people (especially the underprivileged) this ID is a necessity, because producing the card at a ration shop entitles you to monthly groceries.

Unfortunately, the Aadhaar machine runs on electricity and the internet. How many of these people are net-savvy? How many ration shops have internet connectivity?

Bone of Contention

There were, and still are, many questions around the viability and usefulness of the Aadhaar scheme.

The government’s current plan is to do away with all other IDs and make this the only valid one. All bill payments, ticket bookings and all sorts of subsidies will be at the mercy of the Aadhaar.

My friends and I are fed up with the fuss over Aadhaar card. Why? Because not only has the government collected our private data through the card (biometrics, blood group, address, etc), it is now mandatory to link it to our PAN card, bank accounts, and mobile number!

We’re obviously concerned about the safety of our personal information (filed somewhere in the public domain), as are millions of other Indians.

The big question: why has this been made mandatory? A recent Supreme Court ruling has declared right to privacy as a fundamental right. But the verdict on Aadhaar is not yet out. Until then, our question remains unanswered.

By the way, I was also told that my Aadhaar number will be required to validate my death. So if I don’t have one, I will hopefully live forever!

As the government plans to make Aadhaar the jack of all trades, I hope it doesn’t turn out to be master of none.

If the concerned authorities are reading this, these are my final words: Change is good — so long as it is mutual and beneficial for all. That’s the whole point of a democracy, right?

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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