March 30, 2015

Aadhaar, the spectre

Praveen Chakravarty in this Indian Express article writes:

"Is the voter dentity card mandatory or voluntary? A rhetorical question whose answerbest captures the intricacy and subtlety of policymaking in India around identity and eligibility. As per the Election Commission’s order, if you are provided with an electoral photo identity card (Epic), it is mandatory to produce that card at the time of voting, failing which the EC can deny you the right to vote. If you are not provided with an Epic by the EC, you can submit one of 11 types of acceptable proofs of identity and vote. But merely possessing an Epic does not entitle you to vote. You have to be registered as a voter in the voter list and furnish proof of identity to vote....."

Courtesy: Indian Express

Praveen goes on to say that "....Aadhaar was conceived as a multi-purpose identity since its inception. Hence, it could never have been compulsory, by stealth or otherwise. A yet-to-be-launched identitycard could not have been made compulsory for an existing programme like the MGNREGA or PDS. If it had to be compulsory, Aadhaar would have been a programme-specific identity (of which we have hundreds), and not a generic multi-purpose identitycard. So, contrary to the allegation in Drèze’s article, there was no “tacit understanding” behind a façade of Aadhaar’s voluntary nature".


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