Aadhaar safety concern not major; LPG subsidy is the main motive

Citizens participating in an Aadhaar enrolment drive. File pic.

Aadhaar card, though has been challenged in various courts, is still considered as an important identity card by many. The queues in Aadhaar enrolment centres are a testimony to this.

Aadhaar card is not mandatory, according to Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI). Now that the Supreme Court has given an interim order banning making Aadhaar compulsory to avail government subsidies, the demand for Aadhaar card should go down – but that’s not the case.

All subsidies, including LPG subsidy, are meant to be for poor people. Interestingly, LPG subsidy is claimed by all, including the affluent for whom shedding Rs 4,500 extra per year is not at all a big deal. Most people want Aadhaar card just for this purpose.

Citizen Matters spoke to some people in the upper income bracket, to understand why they want Aadhaar card. Here’s the reaction.

Subsidy a major reason

Jayalakshmi Venugopal, an IT employee in a private firm, has applied for an Aadhaar card in the month of September. She has applied for the card because she wants to get the LPG gas connection at a subsidised rate.

“I have not been told by the my gas supplier to submit my Aadhaar card details. It is a matter of time before it becomes essential. Cooking gas is also becoming expensive. I presently pay Rs 420 and it will cost Rs 900 in future. Despite the Supreme Court saying it is not mandatory, the government and many organisations are still pressing for it. So as a citizen, I want to be on the safer side,” she says.

Ramanthan Thiagarajan, Finance Controller in EASi too recently applied for an Aadhaar card after hearing that it will help in getting subsidised LPG cylinders. “This is the prime reason why my entire family has applied for the card, because I have heard that the gas agencies are linking subsidy cash payment for domestic LPG up to nine cylinders per year. Otherwise I do not see any other importance of the card. However, so far, we have not been asked by anybody to give our details,” he explains.

Sona Dronamraju, a consultant in Tech Mahindra, says that the family has applied for Aadhaar card in May 2013, after they got to know of the subsidies available, especially on LPG cylinders. The family did not apply for the card earlier because of long queues in enrolment centres.

But isn’t the subsidy meant for poor?  Sona has an argument for this: “Despite the fact that we are in the higher tax bracket, we are paying taxes to the government. So when we are paying taxes, why not take the benefits? When it comes to paying we are sincere, we should also be entitled to the benefits,” she adds.

‘Gas agencies demanding Aadhaar’

While most people are applying for Aadhaar card voluntarily, there are some who are forced to do so because their gas supplier agency has asked them to do so.

Ravee N K, a resident of Alur, says that he applied for Aadhaar card in November 2012. His wife has applied six months back for one. Last week, his LPG supplier called up and informed that they had to produce their Aadhaar card and bank details.

“I feel that it is better to apply for all government cards, because you never know when it is required. I was earlier against Aadhaar card, but how much can one resist. Even though the Supreme Court has said it is not mandatory, the government is wanting to pass a bill in the Parliament to make it mandatory,” he says. He is a retired Finance Director from HP.

‘An important identity document’

There are some people who see Aadhaar card as what it is actually – an identity document. Neelesh Salgaonkar, an IT professional, says that he brought the forms for his family because it is an important identity document. “No one in particular has asked us for the card and I do not think it is mandatory too. I look at Aadhaar as a social security number, like it is in the USA. So as an Indian citizen, it should have a national identity. The Ration card and passport are only limited to some sections of society, while Aadhaar is for all.”

He adds that the government incentives are for the needy and in future it could be leveraged by the government and private industries, alike. Neelesh says that there are no immediate benefits of Aadhaar. Unless every citizen is covered in it, it is too early to see the implications. The biometrics can be used later for Visa and passport verifications. The government is also not fully sure of all the benefits it can have.

Dhanalakshmi Kandaswamy, a MarComm manager, says that she is not losing anything by not having an Aadhaar card. “I look at it as another identity card, a card to avail public services in future and for bank transactions,” she adds.

‘Banks insist on Aadhaar’

Akanksha Melhotra, an associate consultant at Ogilvy Networks, says that she and her husband have applied for Aadhaar. “We want it because it is mandatory for bank transactions. Even though the passport and driving licence are sufficient, private banks are insisting for it. It is gradually becoming an important identity proof. So we have applied for it, before it becomes too late.”

‘Safety not a great concern’

Jayalakshmi points that safety is secondary in India. “When you are living in India you are bound to take risk. Banks also have your details and they know how often you shop, for how much and where. Details of people are floating around everywhere. It is a risk everybody is taking. For LPG connection, government is giving the facility to open a separate bank account, so the fear of losing money is ruled out. I don’t see any other risk associated with it, because the details are being collected by government-hired agencies for the government,” adds Jayalakshmi.

Ramanathan is well aware of the fact that Aadhaar cards are being issued to all residents including illegal immigrants. He is worried of the manner in which information is collected by private agencies. The safety measures adopted by the agencies to monitor the effectiveness by UIDAI, is also worrying, he says.

Ravee says he is sceptical about the LPG consumer number being linked to the bank account. “I wonder what is the guarantee that nobody will clean up my bank account. When income tax details can be leaked, details of any organisation can also be leaked. If you are a part of 1.2 billion people, privacy is the first casualty. Privacy is a big joke in India,” he explains. He says Aadhaar is not the sole cause of worry, as nowadays biometric details are collected by RTO for driving licence and for property registration.

He also feels that Nandan Nilekani, chairman of UIDAI, is a very smart person. He would have definitely thought about the security and safety aspect, he says.

In a nutshell, there seem to be two kind of people among affluent who want Aadhaar card : Those who want to go for Aadhaar just for the sake of availing subsidies, and those who see it as an important identity card despite court cases. Most people are able to see that the safety risk involved in revealing details to get Aadhaar card is present even in other forms of id cards.

Related Articles

How to link Aadhaar card to bank account and LPG connection?
Demanding Aadhaar to provide govt services is contempt of court: UIDAI petitioner
Everybody wants an Aadhaar card. But why?
Getting a new cooking gas connection

About Bosky Khanna 0 Articles
Bosky Khanna is Staff Journalist, Citizen Matters.

13 Comments

  1. The Supreme Court ruling that Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory for people to get subsidy under the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG consumer (DBTL) scheme. One of the major problems with the system was that many consumers were still to get their Aadhaar numbers.

  2. what exactly is that great blessed service this aadhaar is going to render in public supply system. then how many people are able to do online Voting as of today. villagers, less literate do they know. do they have computers. any way the govt itself has never said online voting as an advantage of aadharr card. will the online activity not a tamperable. we have enough money frauds going in on line. Voting is on one day only whenever there is a an election. what great deal is done by not going to the polling booth on that once in blue moon day.this aadhhar is an unwanted stuff being thrusted and to cause only havoc that too when the govt itself is not capable enough in issuing to all properly..

  3. The main aim of Aadhaar card is being twisted and turned to make it look that it is being thrust upon people and an unnecessary compulsion. People must understand that Aadhaar is a good check point to reduce various types of corruption in public supply system of basic needs that is haunting the diaspora in India. There is no question of giving up Aadhaar and it is bound to be a silver bullet for so many ills that exist in our society. Another important advantage of possessing Aadhaar, in the days to come, could be ONLINE VOTING for people from where they are, with the help of Aadhaar biometric system giving the much needed relief of travelling from one corner to another corner for exercising their franchise. Election Commission may like to consider this suggestion and refer to UIDAI the possibility of ONLINE VOTING.

  4. The Govt must not make the AADHAAR Card mandatory for LPG Subsidies until the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) would provide the AADHAR card to all citizens of India.It is fault of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), they are unable to provide the AADHAAR card to across the INDIA.

  5. if this aadhhar card for DTB schems, what unique difference it is to cause by paing more and get later [thro bank] annoying consumers. what if the existing practice continues. is it not a wasteful step only inconveniencing the gas consumers.
    if for ID purpose; we have enough which are all said at that time ‘unique’ and one of this can serve the purpose.
    Do they any have such set of cards as Id in other country’s citizens.

  6. Currently Aadhaar is to prevent duplicate connections of LPG and diversion at LPG Dealer level by showing fake names.

    Next point after few years could be subsidy to certain income level.

  7. The main point is “There are no rules after all, in India, that stop the rich from claiming LPG subsidies.” Then what is the exact purpose to tag AADHAAR CARD with LPG Subsidies?

    LPG Subsidies must not be applicable for higher income level.

    I think PAN Card is enough for LPG Subsidies and Govt. must be create a slab from higher income level to lower income level for provide the LPG Subsidies.

  8. Do we really have Privacy concerns?

    Our mobile phone & internet provide any privacy? No.

    Aadhaar registration collects biometric data and bare minimum information (proof of identity, age, and residence) through enrollment form. See Enrollment-Form picture with data fields on page-1 and instructions on page-2.

    India has a law called Information Technology Act 2000 that protects, together with other laws, all types of information including the Aadhaar data from theft and misuse.

    Privacy issues and risks equally apply to information and data provided (with or without biometrics) to census office, tax office, passport office, driving license, vehicle registration, land registration, employers (current, past and prospective), banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, telephone service provider, television service provider, internet service provider, internet services (email, video, social media, search engine, chat, voice, file-storage and transfer etc.), registration at school/college, post-office and courier services, hospital registration and medical records, visa of US and UK etc.

    Aadhaar does not violate any privacy or fundamental right.

  9. Aadhaar status {verifiable with UIDAI website portal (dot) uidai (dot) gov (dot) in}
    Aadhaar Enrolled: About 550 million (55.0 crore),
    Aadhaar Generated: About 485 million (48.5 crore),
    Population of India: 1250 million (125 crore or 1.25 billion),
    Average Aadhaar Generation: 30 million/ month,
    Milestone planned: 600 million Aadhaar by March-2014 (easily achievable @ 1 million / day),

  10. Who is afraid of Aadhaar & Why?
    As the public databases are getting inter-linked one by one thru Aadhaar Number in various States (particularly Delhi State), we see the following effects:
    1. Middlemen & Officials are finding difficult to continue with corruption in public welfare pensions, scholarships, public health, NREGA, subsidy on PDS Ration, Kerosene, LPG etc.
    2. Ineligible, duplicate and fictitious beneficiaries are getting eliminated from public welfare pensions, scholarships, public health, NREGA, subsidy on PDS Ration, Kerosene, LPG etc.
    3. Corrupts will find difficult to buy & sell Benami land & building (i.e.under fictitious name).
    4. Corrupts will find difficult to open & operate Benami companies for money-laundering.
    5. Corrupts will find difficult to open & operate Benami bank accounts for keeping black-money.
    6. Tax-evaders will find difficult to evade taxes.
    7. Impersonation & proxy will be difficult to commit.
    8. Criminals & Terrorists will get detected and tracked thru inter-linked databases of mobile phone, bank account, travel documents etc.
    9. Illegal Immigrants will get detected and tracked thru inter-linked databases of mobile phone, bank account, travel documents etc. They will have no place to hide on Indian soil.
    10. It will get difficult for Criminals to hide as records are getting accessible to Police from any State of India.
    11. It will get difficult to obtain another new Driving License and Arms License from another State once it got impounded.
    12. Fraudsters will not be able to steal Provident Fund money.
    13. Onion Hoarders will get tracked easily.
    14. Dummy candidates will not be able to write competitive exams for others for the sake of money.

  11. Above report is false that SC said no Aadhaar for subsidy.

    The Supreme Court of India passed an Interim Order on 23-Sep-2013 that no public services such as LPG be denied to public due to lack of Aadhaar. However, the government maintained that it does not deny public services such as LPG at market rate (i.e. non-subsidized). However, Aadhaar will continue to be mandatory for receiving social security benefits like subsidy on LPG. Those who do not want social security benefits can continue without Aadhaar. The Supreme Court made no such statement that Aadhaar or UIDAI is illegal or invalid.

  12. It is good to have Aadhar card as one more identiti for many subsidies and other things Ihad applied to get my AAdhar card in June but Ihave only acknowledgement slip, Mr Nandan nilkeni made this in to a mess and there are so many citizens waiting for their card why delay.. What we have to answer if Lpg distributors Insist for us to get subsidy

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