As the battle for the Lok Sabha elections intensifies, the fight against the UPA government’s pet Aadhaar project found support on Sunday as a group of academicians and technocrats spoke against the unique identification project in the city.
The head of the project — Nandan Nilekani — is a technocrat himself and also the Congress candidate from Bangalore South constituency.
In a discussion on the project, organised by the Citizens for Democracy forum, all panelists spoke against the project and termed it a “sham” and a “project to fool people”.
The discussion was focused on the protection of data collected from citizens and its effectiveness and necessity in providing them services.
Professor Gopinath, from the Computer Science and Automation Department of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), said most companies which handle large data have not been able to devise complete solutions for handling that data.
“The question is, do you store all the data in one centre or do you store copies across different locations. The problem of consistency also arises when there are several copies being stored. For a project of such a big scale, false negatives and positives will arise.”
He criticised the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) of not having a “clear working model in place”.
“They do not have a plan to deal with such issues. If they do, I haven’t seen it. Aadhaar is not something as simple as searching for something on Google. There is a real time guarantee needed,” he said.
Noted filmmaker T S Nagabharana said with most Indians holding ration cards or driving licences, an Aadhaar card was not required. “It is a project by the Planning Commission and the Congress,” he said, commenting on the fact that UIDAI was set up without being passed in Parliament.
Kiran Bettadpur, CEO of Cylive Soft corporation, said the Aadhaar project was the result of an executive order and not an act.
“The bill proposed by the government states the objective as ‘a bill to confer rights on the residents of India’. What residents are they talking about? Legal residents or illegal migrants?” he said.
He said that there were no legal provisions for action against card holders who introduce illegal migrants to make them eligible for getting a card. “It is a sham to make illegal residents legal,” he said.
Other speakers at the event were Shamasundar of research corporation ProSIM R&D Centre.
An Open Challenge to Nilekani
During the discussion, one of the speakers threw an open challenge to Nandan Nilekani to hold a public debate on the Aadhaar project. The speaker, V K Somashekar, and retired colonel Mathew Thomas alleged in a printed statement that the project was “a threat to national security”.