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Moneylife » Life » Public Interest » An open letter to Nandan Nilekani on Aadhaar issues

An open letter to Nandan Nilekani on Aadhaar issues

Aurobindo Banerjee | 28/11/2012 04:48 PM | 

Aurobindo Banerjee, former chief commissioner of Income Tax, in this open letter to the UIDAI chief, highlights the issue of legal status of the Aadhaar number and its acceptance as valid proof by mobile operators

Mr Nandan Nilekani,
New Delhi 
As a young officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in the early 1970s, I can claim to have first mooted the idea of something like the Aadhaar number to track black money and we got a somewhat primitive version of today's PAN, which is much improved now. 
When Aadhaar was introduced and you took over as the head of the project, with your background, I was elated, though much older and already retired. I had great hopes and was simply waiting to get my Aadhaar number and was proud to obtain one last year. I even wrote to your office to link it up with the PAN, which is still NOT done in the current version of the project (I have again submitted myself, along with my nephews for yet another series of cards.) I can, however, add that I proudly carry my Aadhaar and Pensioners' ID cards, both issued by the Government of India (GoI), on my person always.
But, as one dabbling in the arena of law for 35 years and even now, I have serious doubts about the legal sanctity of the very concept from my personal experience and hence this mail, for whatever it is worth to you. People like us cannot be associated with this type of innovations, but we certainly can give our feedback, I hope. 
I am a retired chief commissioner of Income-tax and have a Pensioners' ID card as well as the Aadhaar number. I applied for getting my Vodafone mobile connection, migrated to Airtel on the basis of the aforesaid two documents. Airtel refused to accept the validity of Aadhaar number (and ID card issued by the I-T Department). As TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is NOT accessible, can I request the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to take up the issue to ensure that Aadhaar number is given its proper recognition by the private operators in the telecom arena? 
As a retired civil servant, it is insulting to me (and to my country) that a private party would refuse to accept the Aadhaar number as a legally valid ID or residence proof. In fact, the government should take action against Airtel for this utter disrespect of the sovereign Govt of India.
I am sure, you do feel the same way as this 68 years-old man does.
A Banerjee, IRS (Retd.)
Ex-Chief Commissioner of Income-tax
Note: Moneylife has sent a mail to Airtel and we would incorporate their response as and when we receive it.

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Geogy 2 years ago

My mother first applied for Adhaar on 27/02/2012. She waited for one year after that she got the information that the upload was not successful. Then again she applied on 19:04:2013, From then onwards I'm checking the status online and via Adhaar center, I'm getting the same answer "You Adhaar is still under generation". All mails to
and calls to 1800-300-1947 give no results. Moreover in KERALA Government is mandating Adhaar Card for LPG subsidy.
Why government is coming up with such utopian ideas when they don’t have the IT infrastructure to support the same. IT”S Shame on you THE ADHAAR TEAM & INDIA GOVERNMENT, even after copule of years you are not able to stabilize the problems in your dream project!!!!!

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Akshay 3 years ago

The process sucks! my wife and I were forced to enroll twice and have not got any card as yet!

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Kunju Kannan

Kunju Kannan 3 years ago

ICICI bank has refused to accept the Aadhar card as proof of either identity or residence, leave alone both, under the KYC norms.

So much for the misleading govt. ads about Aadhar cards in the newspapers.

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Geoffrey Allen

Geoffrey Allen 3 years ago

"The National Identification Authority of India Bill,2010.
This Bill is still PENDING with the Government. This Bill seeks to issue a Unique Identififcation Number (called Aadhar) to residents of India. Every person residing in India (REGARDLESS OF CITIZENSHIP) is entitled to obtain an Aadhar Number after furnishing the required information. The Number shall serve as an Identity Proof, but NOT as a Citizenship proof."
I have copied the above from page 4 of the 'MINT Financial Newspaper dated 27/11/12.
UNQUOTE: Just can't understand the logic behind this ID being issued to every person regardless of citizenship. No wonder it does not serve as a Citizenship proof. The way the authorities concerned are going about issuing this Card is absolutely flawed too. Unlike the way the National Census undertakes its work by their personnel touching almost every
bonafide resident of India...the onus of data collection as far as this Aadhar Card is concerned rests upon the individual concerned. In other words... it is the Individual who has to take a personal interest in going to the Aadhar Centre and get him/herself a card. When the learned urban individual hardly has any interest in going to the polling booth to cast his vote... I wonder what is the incentive for him/her to go and collect this Aadhar Card.. which hardly could be of much use to him... when he or she could easily make do with other forms of ID (and which is more easily recognized and accepted i.e. The Passport, The Voter ID, Ration Card, Driving Licence, Pan Card etc.(Thats a total of 5 kinds of ID card.. is there need for more?) What then is the need for the man living in the slums of the big cities.. living hand to mouth care for getting this card when it would hardly mean anything to him.
In fact... I copy here a news item as appeared in today's "Times of India dated 1st December 2012.. page 11

QUOTE: The Supreme Court Notice to the Central Government on PIL against Aadhar... saying the Unique ID project Voilates the Right to Privacy. Senior Advocate Anil Divan also questioned the grant of the UID Numbers and Aadhar Cards to ILLEGAL MIGRANTS at a time when the Bill was PENDING before Parliament and its Standing Committee had REJECTED the Bill in its report.
Unquote: So much for all the noise about this UID Number Aadhar Card. The ultimate sufferer is the common man!
If Mr. Nandan Nilekani could read this too.

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Sudheer M

Sudheer M 3 years ago

Let me slightly deviate from Aadhar, but with regard to mobile operators here.

My wife had purchased a prepaid sim and was asked to give proof of address and id. She took a photocopy of her proof of id and address, wrote over it, "For the purpose of Airtel prepaid telephone number:XXXXX." Airtel Koramangala, Bangalore office refused to accept this saying that nothing should be written on the photocopy.

She had written it so that it does not go into the hands of any unscrupulous person to issue number to anti-social/terrorist elements. We had to finally surrender the prepaid card as they were not ready to accept proof this way nor they were ready to give it in writing.

This is the plight a common man has to face.

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