Aadhaar: Despite SC Order, U-DISE under HRD Ministry Is Tracking Students
Moneylife Digital Team 12 November 2018
The Supreme Court in its 26 September 2018 judgement had clearly kept children out of the ambit of Aadhaar. However, the unified district information system for education (U-DISE) that works under the ministry of human resources development (HRD), says it will "move towards tracking each student with the help of Aadhaar number".
 
U-DISE operates under the department of educational management information system of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) headed by Prakash Javadekar, the minister of HRD. 
 
The portal, https://student.udise.in/ created for student data collection, states, "We envisage to develop student database (SDMIS), which with over 260 million students from grade 1st to 12th would be the largest such systems across the world. The system will keep record of academic journey of every student studying in about 1.5 million government and private schools in India. We would move towards tracking each student with the help of Aadhaar number."
 
 
SDMIS claims to have registered 21.23 crore students as on 12 November 2018 under the data collection program, while there are 9.44 crore students who had submitted their Aadhaar numbers.
 
School education management information system (SDMIS) was first implemented in 1995 under the district primary education project (DPEP). However, how and why mandatory seeding of student's Aadhaar number entered into this programme is not known. 
 
A 2013 report on "information management & use review" prepared by rashtriya madhyamik shiksha abhiyan-technical cooperation agency (RMSA-TCA) talks about pilot for child tracking system using Aadhaar number. It says, "A child tracking system allocates an Aadhaar (unique identifier) to each child, stores their biodata and traces their enrolment and main achievements throughout the education cycle of the child." 
 
 
The Supreme Court's September 2018 order however, had refuted government contentions on the need to use Aadhaar for students. 
 
"The respondents (govt) made an attempt to justify the linkage of Aadhaar with child information and records by arguing that there have been several instances of either impersonations at examinations or bogus admissions, which have the potential to pilfer away various scholarship schemes, which the government provides for weaker sections from time to time. If this is the objective, then also the requirement of Aadhaar cannot be insisted upon at the time of admission but only at the stage of application for government scholarships. Insofar as impersonation at examination is concerned, that can be easily checked and contained by other means with effective checks and balances. When there are alternative means, insistence on Aadhaar would not satisfy the test or proportionality. This would violate the privacy right of the children importance whereto is given by the Constitution Bench...," the five-judge constitution bench had said. (Page 394, WP (civil) No. 494 of 2012)
 
The student information data capture format of U-DISE has the first field for Aadhaar number, rather than the name of the student.
 
 
Interestingly, the proposed draft of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018has several provisions to protect sensitive and personal data of children. For example, the bill bars data fiduciaries from profiling, tracking, or behavioural monitoring of, or targeted advertising directed at, children and undertaking any other processing of personal data that can cause significant harm to the child.
 
The question thus is, are the HRD ministry or NUEPA beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or are they simply thrusting ahead with their drive to track every students across India with Aadhaar number? 
 
 
 
 

 

Comments
Bapoo Malcolm
4 years ago
What is the sense of reporting these serious transgressions when no one is prepared to follow these up? Drum rolls must lead to war, not fade in the distance.
Sudhir Jatar
4 years ago
My view is that the judiciary should carry out an introspection to find out why there is rampant disobedience of court orders. One obvious reason is that there is no punishment for disobeying court orders. Contempt cases always get low priority unless of course judiciary is involved. If lawyers are to blame , it is time some corrective measures are taken. The judiciary can also ask in "sealed envelopes" views from the common citizens about their perception of the judiciary. This is not as widely known as the citizen's perception about the legislature and the executive.
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