UID is a 12 digit number in addition to PAN Card, Passport,Ration Card,Driving License,BPL Cards, NREGA Card and similar cards issued by both State and Central Government .However,unlike these need based identities issued to citizens of India, the UID number is issued to every resident in India. The identity of resident will be stored in a central database with individuals’ biometric and demographic data linked to a randomly generated unique number.The identity would be authenticated by querying the database. So, a person possessing the UID cannot authenticate his or her identity, but only those in charge of the database have the means and authority to authenticate person’s identity. The biometric and demographic information of 1.3+ billion residents of India mean 6,000,000 gigabytes. It will be the world’s largest database. The technological challenges are enormous and involve system performance, reliability, speed and resolution of accuracy and errors.
The the linkage of UID with various governmental benefits and services such as food security under the newly enacted Food Security Act, LPG subsidy, the Employees’ Provident Fund, and other DBT benefits, falsifies the government’s claim of it being voluntary. The Supreme Court has rapped the government on it, and ordered not to demand the UID in order to provide a service,delinking it to all public services.
UID claims to revolutionize the public service delivery and will control corruption, be inclusive and portable . But that has been achieved in several states in major welfare schemes , by creatively using simpler technology compared to UID.
Regarding Corruption in the PDS , Tamil Nadu has been running a clean system without UID. Intelligent applications of simpler technology of computerisation, SMS alerts , along with other reforms, have contributed to the turnaround of the PDS in Chhattisgarh and Odisha. In these states estimated leakages of PDS grain have come down from around 50% in both states, to 10% and 20% respectively (between 2004-2005 and 2010-2011).The National Food Security Act (NFSA) increases the coverage under the PDS (from about half of the population to two-thirds). Independent of the NFSA, there has been a trend towards greater ‘inclusivity as state governments, one after another, have rejected the central caps on coverage. Starting with Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, which run universal or quasi-universal PDS, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and even Jharkhand have expanded their PDS by committing state funds.In fact, MNREGA has contributed much to financial inclusion even before UID existed
In the case of LPG, a system is in place already, Oil Companies have devised scientific methods and stern measures including IVRS booking system that is fool proof, further the LPG Cylinders are delivered to the doorstep of the Customer and hence clearly identifiable. UID in no way helps improve or make the scheme any better.
Col Mathew who has filed PIL against UID, shares with us his view on the issue below.
LPG cash subsidy could be transferred to non-eligible people, if eligibility criteria are stipulated, or people with fake IDs.PAN details and proof of residence have been frequently misused to procure SIM cards, Iris images & biometric data are identification forms. They can be used to create fake identities. UIDAI has not only multiplied this danger, but unknowingly introduced massive vulnerabilities in the processes of creating and establishing identity . J.T. D’Souza, managing director of SPARC Systems Limited in a demo below exposes that a finger print could be faked in less than a dollar
National IDs have been abandoned in the US, Australia and the United Kingdom government, due to costs and privacy. If It was too expensive for the US with a population of 308 million, and the UK with 61 million people, and Australia with 21 million people, so how come not for India, with a population fo 181 billion plus ?
How Can India allow its citizens to be used as guinea pigs by biometric technology companies ?.