The mission of UPA government was to give a unique identity card to Indian citizens which will be a citizen card with multi-purpose functionalities replacing all forms of cards such as ration card, voter identity card, green card, etc. The work towards its implementation began about five years ago and the cards supplied as on September, 2013 is 35% of India’s total population. Various state governments have made Adhar Cards compulsory for marriage-registration, disbursal of salaries, and provident funds of employees among other public services.
Law and order problems:
In a curious exercise in the past, the government of India had handed over the task of completing the cards to Infosys and it’s the then chief Mr. Nandan Nilekani was made the chief of UADAI with legal status. The rush for the corruption of formalities of the card was so unsystematic and chaotic at the initial stages that people were made to stand in the queue from the midnight to return disappointed in the mid-day.
Law and order problem and fighting among people were seen to be believed. But in the end those who fought and got the cards question for what they toiled so hard and as to what the fault of the card is in the face of so many other cards like voter identity cards, PAN cards, ration cards, etc. still being required. Incidents of fraud in printing and issuance of cards are so many that the very purpose for which the cards are used needs a rework.
This isolated incident:
A Bangladeshi arrested from a hotel room in Mumbai found an Adhar card in his name in possession and, when questioned, he clarified before the immigration authorities that he had purchased the card at 25,000 rupees. This isolated incident proves that through fraudulent practices mainly with the help of insiders, Adhar card can be acquired on payment of a few rupees. It is a matter of concern that Infosys which is a private enterprise is engaged in public activities and their actions and functions go unchecked which leads to numerous problems, the most critical of which is the apprehension of terrorists acquiring cards and destroying the country.
While in other schemes and cards like ration card, voter identity cards government authorities are involved and can be made accountable. In this system, Infosys doing the job is not accountable. Moreover, the government has been able to cover only 35% of the population by the end of August 2013 and the rate at which progress is going on, a decade more may be needed to complete the exercise.
Honorable Supreme Court’s directive to government:
In the above backdrop and on a public interest petition filed in the Honorable Supreme Court of India, the judgment pronounced by a bench of justices comprising of Justices B.K. Chauhan and S.A. Borde was that ‘ the centre and the state governments must not insist on Adhar Card from citizens before providing them essential services’. The honorable court also directed the Central Government not to issue Adhar Cards to illegal immigrants.
On the center’s claim that rupees 50,000 cores expenses already incurred in the card scheme, the Honorable Court said that the card is not necessary for essential services. This petition was filed by Justice K.S. Puttuswamy, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court. The petitioned said that “the scheme is complete infraction of Fundamental Rights under Article 14C (right to equality) and 21C (right to life and liberty)’. The government claims that the scheme is voluntary but it is not so. Adhar is made mandatory for the purpose like registration of marriage and others. Maharastra government has recently said no marriage will be registered if the parties don’t have Adhar Cards”.
- Adhar Card is not necessary.
- It is optional, not mandatory.
- The chief of UADAI is Nandan Nilekani, former Infosys chief.
- UDAI bill 2010 to come up for discussion in Lok Sabha.
- It was sent to the Rajya Sabha Select Committee and some modifications. It has come back to government.
- Adhar implemented since February 2009.
- By 2013 September, 35% of India’s population, i.e. 42.50 cores of people has received the card.
But the central government is bent upon implementing the scheme with the passage of the bill pending in Rajya Sabha since 2010 and quashes the Supreme Court order. Be it as it may, if the Adhar is implemented without physical verification and with ulterior political motive of including lac of Burmese, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis for electoral gain, the country will deep in terrorism and doom.
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