UID elicits mixed response

Can the Unique Identity Card (UID) project solve this problem or will it create other more serious issues like infringement of constitutional rights, etc? These were the points fiercely debated at a panel discussion on UID organised by the Centre for Internet Society and Citizens' Action forum.

Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar, who made a presentation on the progress  of the UID project in the State, at times, struggled to convince the audience on the necessity and feasibility of the project.

According to Mathews Thomas of the Citizens' Action Forum, the UID project creates more problems than it is expected to resolve.

“First, it was launched bypassing Parliament. It will only store biometric and other data of all citizens. This could result in illegal migrants claiming citizenship. Further, it will not prevent corruption in Public Distribution System or other schemes. The huge expenditure it will incur is also a matter of grave concern,” he said.

Defending the project, Vidyashankar said it was necessary to weed out discrepancies in multiple identity documents.

“It's well known that inconsistencies in a person's name, father's name, address, etc, creep in multiple documents. For instance, there will be different spellings of a person on a voter ID card, a driving Licence, a passport, and a PAN card. The UID will help in checking such discrepancies,” he asserted.

No operator will be able to tamper with the data. The laptops will have two screens to help the applicant see the entries. Data will first go to the Grameen Business Centre  from where it will head to the Central Identity Database Repository which will issue a randomly generated number, he added. 

Former Minister Prof B K Chandrashekhar said that there were several concerns in the UID project which need to be addressed properly.

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