If you were waiting for the Indian government to slow down (or completely stop) with its push to bring Aadhaar biometric identity system into your lives, don’t hold your breath.
Started as an optional program, in the recent years, the government has upped the ante and has made it mandatory to use Aadhar card in order to access other services.
As has been the case in the past, the decision was immediately met with sharp criticism.
But the government is now clarifying that it won’t be withdrawing its move, giving its citizens yet another look at how it intends to move forward with its biometric system.
India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in Lok Sabha this week that that the new bill to make it mandatory for every taxpayer to link their unique 12-digit code and biometric information will go into effect from July 1.
Addressing the criticism, Jaitley said the move will help the government zero-in on citizens who don’t pay taxes.
“Today 98 percent citizens have Aadhaar. They can either give the Aadhaar number or mention that they have applied for Aadhaar — but the government won’t allow them to evade tax,” Jaitley said.
He added that Aadhaar could become the only identity card in the future, replacing the existing voter ID card, and PAN card among others.
Though nobody is denying that the government should take actions against tax evaders, it’s the way Aadhar is being implemented that irks many.
And there’s good reason to be skeptical about an Aadhaar card. The government will use the card to store a person’s biometric data like fingerprints, iris data and other personal information.
And according to numerous security and privacy experts, Aadhaar’s infrastructure is prone to hacking and it’s surprisingly easy to replicate the biometric information.
Got it. It is compulsorily mandatory to voluntarily get yourself an Aadhaar card.
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) March 22, 2017
Remember those good old days when Aadhaar was supposed to give ID to the unIDed masses? Now if you don’t have it, it *invalidates* your PAN.
— Rohan Venkat (@RohanV) March 22, 2017