Major loopholes in UID system mean unverified documents could slip through net

The UPA government’s prestigious initiative to provide a unique identification number to every Indian resident was meant to be robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities in government and private databases.

It has, however, come to light that the system does not have proper checks and balances.

An undercover investigation conducted by Delhi Aaj Tak has exposed chinks in the UID system (also called the Aadhar scheme), which render it susceptible to manipulation and rigging with the active support of elected representatives.

Arvinder Singh Lovely

To expose the inherent loopholes in the system, Aaj Tak’s undercover reporters approached various MPs, MLAs and councillors to get an endorsement that is crucial to get an ID made.

The reporters went to the offices of MP Mahabal Mishra, MLA Jaikishan, Delhi education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely and councillor Surender Prakash Sharma (all of the Congress), among many others, who gave endorsements without verification.

Investigations revealed that Jaikishan’s staff endorsed unchecked address forms and Mishra made available recommendations on his letterhead for UID cards – all for a small fee.

Armed with recommendations or endorsed proofs from them, the undercover reporters were able to procure three UID cards at UID centres in the National Capital, no questions asked.
The undercover reporters first approached Mishra’s staff who have been randomly signing away recommendations on the MP’s letterhead.

The only prerequisite was a photograph. When reached for his comments, Mishra said he was not responsible for verifying the antecedents of people.

The scene was similar at Jaikishan’s house. What was more shocking was that the MLA’s letterhead with a format for endorsement

MP Mahabal Mishra

MP Mahabal Mishra

printed over it could be bought for Rs 2 at the nearby sweet shop.

It didn’t matter if the MLA was present or not. One of his associates signed the form. At the UID centre in Sultanpuri, this form with a fake address was accepted as a valid ID proof.

Ironically, the undercover reporters managed to get similar ID proofs on letterheads of Lovely and Sharma as well.

The only exception was Burari MLA Krishna Tyagi’s office, where his staff asked a few inquisitive questions.

If these elected representatives were careless, the story at other UID centres in Delhi was even scarier.

Outside one such facility, a man who claimed to be a doctor was giving away certificates for just Rs 50 rupees.

Truth vs Hype: Who is afraid of Unique ID?


Nandan Nilekani

Image via Wikipedia

The Nandan Nilekani led- Unique ID project has enrolled more than 100 million Indians. They say this will give them not just an identity, but take India closer to a social revolution. And for a while, largely because of immense goodwill that Nandan Nilekani enjoyed, people ignored the voices of civil society groups that say UID violates privacy, or that it’s going to replace subsidies with cash. But now, those voices have grown louder. More worryingly for Nilekani, the home ministry says the UID data is flawed. And a standing committee of Parliament says it’s a project without direction. This week, on Truth vs Hype, an on the ground investigation: is Aadhaar a nuisance or an opportunity? And more to the point – does it have a future?




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June 2021
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