In order to enable the next phase of growth, the Unique Identification Number project will play the role of a catalyst and enable the coutnry to tackle domestic issues of corruption, inefficiency, lack of strong enforcement of rule of law.
Even as the census exercise takes off another big ticket project, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)’s ambitious plan of issuing biometric –enabled number, called ‘Aadhaar’ is getting ready for the launch. The project aims to provide unique identification to India’s 1.2 billion people.
But the government supercilious attitude to equip all citizens with biometric card is just a public relations exercise. Our government has theft the idea of developed countries, where the e-Government Readiness Index is success in lowering corruption and having a high quality of life as measured by the Human Development Index. Mostly e-Government implementations depend on positive and accurate identification of their citizens and interconnection of databases and information across government bodies and services.
What about our power failures? The lack of stable 24 hour power supply across the country will hinder access to the central databases for authentication. What will be achieved by computerization of operation unless it brings transparency and accountability? Government must address all issues to citizens satisfactorily to ensure it will not create more problems than it solves. The Central and State governments must enact legislation for adequate safeguards and operating processes for sharing of the databases amongst states, before the Unique IDs are issued. Failing this, there will be few users and takers for the scheme.