Aadhaar and its implicit bargains4 min read . Updated: 26 Aug 2015, 07:48 PM IST
There is too much fear-mongering about Aadhaar and the danger to individual privacy. This is far from the truth
On a chilly afternoon on 5 December 2010 in Churchu block in Hazaribagh district in Jharkhand, a poor rural woman (let’s call her Asha) held my hand to thank me, after I told her that going forward, it may be possible to collect her wages from the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) programme directly by herself through her bank’s business correspondent at her doorstep. “Sitaar wale bank se milega?" (Will I get it from the star bank?) she asked referring to Bank of India’s logo of a star. I was there as a member of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for a pilot of Aadhaar-enabled NREGA payments. The initiative was to test people’s responses to a choice of receiving NREGA wages by themselves and not through an intermediary at their doorstep using their Aadhaar number. 100% of the villagers in Churchu block demonstrated their approval by enrolling for the programme. In an ensuing conversation, Asha told me that her erratic husband collects her NREGA wages and spends it outside the family.