Bus Porters’ Petition for Aadhaar – A Political Analysis: Tarangini Sriraman

Published in Kafila on February 22, 2015

Barely six years into its introduction, the Aadhaar project, otherwise known as the Unique Identification (UID) project has been studied and critiqued extensively – its promises to strengthen welfare delivery, curb corruption, exorcise ghost beneficiaries from government databases, initiate financial inclusion and enhance intra-governmental coordination have been enthusiastically received in certain corporate and technocratic circles and skeptically, if not scathingly viewed in other academic and journalistic quarters. The liberties this far-advanced project has taken with individuals’ privacy and its failure to acquire a statutory basis (even as enrollment drives continue unabated) have justly attracted severe censure. And until recently, the surreptitiously mandatory nature of the project – where welfare entitlements were linked to the possession of numbers – was cause for alarm. The Supreme Court judgment in 2013 challenging this mandatory linkage between Aadhaar and subsidies/entitlements may have slowed down processes of the number’s proliferation as an exclusive proof....

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