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Biometric Data Collection Under Aadhar Collects Records Of Close To A Billion Indians

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Indian Government’s Aadhar scheme has been a roaring success and biometric data of a staggering 99 crore Indians has been collected and encrypted. An announcement to the same effect was made in the Rajya Sabha by IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Speaking on the topic, he said

Today we have got 99 crore Indians on Aadhar. In case of Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, Rs15,000 crore was saved and in case of PDS, Rs 2,346 crore was saved in four states.

The drive is one of the largest of its kind and the database so prepared will help the government create advanced systems for a variety of purposes, such as the delivery of benefits to the population.

The IT minister also laid particular emphasis to the secrecy of the data, seeking to sooth the fears — and forestall the objections — of the opposition, which has a significant majority in the house.

As far as privacy part is concerned, I want to assure this House that under the architecture which was started by your government, all the care has been taken to ensure its privacy.

Note the emphasis on “your government”. The minister made sure that he included the previous government into the loop.

He also assured the house of an ample chance of examining the clauses and the minute nuances of the system in preparation for the time when the bill, which is currently in the lok sabha, reaches the upper house of the parliament.

Assuring the Rajya Sabha he said that, not only has it been ensured that data handling was done by Indian companies, but that stringent measures have taken to ensure that the data stays private.

He also said that the three tier structure, namely state governments, public sector banks and the common service centre means that the data will be doubly secured.

As far as I can recall, the core biometerics cannot be shared even with the consent with its owner.

He also elaborated upon the promising nature of the scheme and the various benefits that will be delivered to the Indian masses. Although thanks to the various complications and objections in the judiciary as well as legislative, it will be a while before the scheme is finally implemented in full.

As of now, the issue of challenge to Aadhar is pending before a constitution bench of the Supreme Court which had passed certain interim orders. Thereafter, the Authority and many other bodies went (to it) and Supreme Court has permitted invoking the benefits through the Aadhar platform for a variety of services including MNREGA.

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