‘Nilekani aware that Rs. 50,000 cr. has been wasted on it’

Columnist Swapan Dasgupta on Wednesday said errors were bound to happen in schemes, however genuine they might be, and the Aadhaar scheme was not an exception.

But the United Progressive Alliance government continued to implement it even after flaws were pointed out at every stage of its implementation.

While speaking at an interaction meeting organised by the Youth Against Corruption, Mr. Dasgupta said, “The Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) former chairman Nandan Nilekani would know that what he started and ended turned out to be completely different. He knows that Rs. 50,000 crore has been wasted on this scheme.” He said this was more than an election issue in Bangalore South.

The Aadhaar scheme, which was initially meant to facilitate direct cash transfers, had become a national identity card to prove one’s permanent residence status and was accepted even for the issue of passports. “But it is now possible for immigrants to get an Aadhaar number,” he said. Mr. Dasgupta said the government went ahead with the scheme despite the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance rejecting the National Identification Authority of India Bill and objections raised about data security and possible misuse. He said that there was a need for a debate on the issue.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Upamanyu Hazarika said Aadhaar was intended for political gains and it was being misused on a large scale in border States. Former High Court judge Puttaswamy and former Governor of Bihar M. Rama Jois were present.

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