Dr Subramanian Swamy reiterated his view that the Aadhaar numbering scheme, which is based on existing data and the software prepared by foreign companies should be scrapped
Dr Subramanian Swamy has called for scrapping the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) promoted Aadhaar numbering scheme terming it a 'disaster'.
In response to a question during a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, said, "Aadhaar is a disaster. It is based on existing data systems. Software is prepared by foreign companies. Aadhaar should be scrapped. Sooner or later, it is bound to happen.”
Dr Swamy was asked why the BJP government was going ahead with Aadhaar and seemed to be finding back-door ways to make it mandatory, when there was a stay order by the Supreme Court and there were several serious problems with biometrics based identification.
Dr Swamy explained how he had spoken against Aadhaar, while campaigning from BJP minister Ananth Kumar in the Bengaluru Sought constituency for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Ananth Kumar’s main rival was Nandan Nilekani, the former chief of UIDAI and Congress candidate. Nilekani, a software billionaire and former head of Infosys Ltd was considered a tough candidate and it was expected that the many benefits promised by Aadhaar would work to his advantage.
“Nilekani was contesting for the Lok Sabha election from Bengaluru and our party candidate Ananth Kumar gave me a panic call and asked me, if I would campaign for him. He said Nilekani was propagating Aadhaar and he (Kumar) did not know the technical details to demolish it. I studied it and then went for the campaigning. I gave two-three speeches, which went very well and also against Nilekani, who lost the seat,” he said.
“But then I found when the new government came in, they decided to renovate or bring it (Aadhaar) in new form. So I asked, Ananth Kumar, who had become a minister, that you made me to come and argue (against Aadhaar). Now with what face I will go and tell people that I do not know what is going on? He said, I also don’t know what is going on. So if the minister doesn’t know what’s going on then don’t blame me if I don’t know what is going on,” said Dr Swamy with a laugh. “But I certainly think that Aadhaar is a disaster,” he added.
Dr Swamy’s speeches had drawn attention to the flaws in the biometric identification scheme, which is opposed by privacy groups and on the grounds of efficacy of its identification. Dr Swamy is the first leader of the BJP to have the courage to speak his mind and stick to his stand on this issue, despite the political cost that would probably be involved.
A study conducted by Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, judged the Aadhaar scheme “the most useless” and the Standing Committee of Parliament on Finance too had echoed the same view, Dr Swamy had said. He had also said, during his campaign speeches that Nilekani ought to be prosecuted under Section 13 (1) (G)/3 of the Prevention of the Corruption Act for squandering of resources on the Aadhaar scheme.
Hearing public interest litigations (PILs), the Supreme Court, had repeatedly directed the government not to make Aadhaar number mandatory to provide social benefit to citizens. In the hearing on 16 March 2015, the Bench of Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde and C Nagappan also expressing dissatisfaction at defiance of Court's repeated orders by the central and state governments.