Nandan Nilekani Takes Aadhaar Haters Head on

Nilekani Aadhaar

When Former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani was asked to express his opinion about the filing of an FIR on The Tribune newspaper report relating to Aadhaar data breach, he said that there was an “orchestrated campaign” to malign Aadhaar.

“There is hundred per cent orchestrated campaign to see how Aadhaar gets maligned, yes absolutely,” Nilekani told ET Now on the sidelines of the Infosys Science Foundation Award here. Delhi Police had on Monday registered the FIR on a complaint by a UIDAI official following the newspaper report on data breach of more than 1 billion Aadhaar cards, naming the journalist behind the story.

Source – One India

It was informed to the police that the Telegraph Correspondent, posed as a buyer, and purchased a service allegedly being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp. The Service is said to provide unhindered access to details of Aadhar numbers, thereby putting the whole system in jeopardy.

Nilekani rubbished the charges and said that Aadhar is very secure system built over far too many security layers, and it is next to impossible to randomly penetrate it. He also said that the issue has been blown out of proportion.

While Nilekani didn’t defend the FIR on the Telegraph reporter, he didn’t get into the ‘Freedom of Expression’ debate either. He said that negative views on Aadhaar will have negative reactions and hence, it would be better for people to have a constructive view on it. In his words:

“If you are just taking a negative view, and not a constructive view, then you also have other (negative) reactions. I think, everybody has to accept Aadhar is here to stay,” Nandan Nilekani said.

This should be a lesson for all Aadhaar Critics out there.

Nilekani seemed very confident of the Supreme Court continuing Aadhar under the fundamental right to privacy as Aadhaar meets the test of the law being proportionate and reasonable. But he also said that incorporating a two-layer security to strengthen privacy protection for Aadhaar number holders by the UIDAI is a welcome step.

“I think this is a very significant announcement by UIDAI and in some sense, it really makes the case against it go away,” he said.

Talking about whether Aadhaar will stay or cease to exist, Nandan Nilekani categorically mentioned that The Aadhaar is here to stay because as many as 119 crore people have it already, 550 million have linked Aadhaar to their bank accounts and Rs 95,000 crore has been transferred into DBT accounts.

Aadhar more than anything else has been a victim of biased reporting by the media and skeptical outlook of many people. Many people take it as the infringement of their privacy while the reality is far from it. Aadhaar is the only way of unifying the entire country under one commonly accepted system. While the fears of the ones who deal in black money or other illicit operations is justified as it will difficult if not impossible for them to escape being identified, the fears of common tax paying, rule abiding citizen is neither justified nor reasonable.