Union Minister’s illogical comparison between a US visa and an Aadhaar card

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When the UPA government launched the Aadhaar card by the Unique Identification Authority of India, the BJP was in the forefront to oppose it. Now the BJP and the NDA government is championing the cause of the Aadhaar card with such enthusiasm that it is the initiator of the programme. However, the card has become a bone of contention today. Those who are opposing it approached the Supreme Court challenging that information shared with the government is a breach of privacy. It is worth mentioning that the Supreme Court has recently confirmed that privacy is a fundamental right of a citizen. Strong arguments were put before the court for and against the Aadhaar card. The people are concerned because a lot of information has to be shared with the government and all individuals by and large do not like to put themselves before the government like an open book. The moot point is that information collected by the government through Aadhaar card is not safe and it is leaked to undesirable sources. Thus it is a breach of privacy, a wrongdoing as per the Supreme Court ruling. Recently two online security experts have claimed that the Aadhaar database of two public sector enterprises was leaked. Many other complaints also reported the leakage of the secret information. However, the government that is Unique Identification Authority of India is adamant in its claim that the data collected by the Aadhaar card is safe. In this connection, the government presented a power point demonstration before the Apex court that the data is safe.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister for Tourism and I T, K J Alphons on March 25, said Indians have absolutely no problem giving finger prints and getting naked before the American authorities for a visa but when the government of India seeks some information they raise hue and cry. This is an absurd comparison by the minister. Firstly, procedures followed by US officials are highly questionable on the grounds of breach of fundamental and human rights. Secondly, it is a matter between Indians and foreign countries. Those who want to avail the benefits by getting a US visa, they are ready to get naked before the US officials. It is predilection of individuals. On the contrary, Indian citizens are compelled to get Aadhaar cards. Many government schemes are linked with an Aadhar card. Then those who do not want to avail these benefits should not be insisted to have Aadhaar cards. When there are many other cards with a lot of information like a bank passbook, Pancards and others, why another card? CPM secretary Sita Ram Yachury condemned the statements of the minister. The government already has many sources which reveal ctizens’ personal information to it. Then the government should not insist the people to provide unnecessary further information. In the midst of a number of gadgets that have individual information, does the government need to have any further information? Today privacy is the main target and it should be protected. Now the Election Commission on electronic voting machines and Unique Indentification Authority of India on privacy are making high-sounding claims. The Supreme Court had heard able lawyers who discussed the plus and minus points on privacy, and one should wait for the judgment of the court. The government should consider that each and every benefit it wants to extend to people is not linked to the Aadhar card.

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