April 10, 2017
Derek O’Brien seeks clarifications from the IT Minister on Aadhaar
The Minister today declared on the floor of the House, “no one from the poor would be denied their rights”. This is good. That’s why we had this discussion as a responsible Opposition: we needed to hear this from the Government, because the signals for the last one month were different; and since you said this on the floor of the House, we respect that and we appreciate that.
I have two clarifications. Since the officials and everybody are here, and you took up the case of MS Dhoni (all good luck to Dhoni that his case got solved), here are my questions.
On February 17, a website had leaked the Aadhaar demographic data of 5 lakh minors. Such people could be children between the ages of six and 14 or women rescued from trafficking or even disabled citizens. I bring this to your notice with all responsibility. If you protected Dhoni, please also protect these people who don’t have the celebrity status of Dhoni; these were five lakh minors. There were others such data leaks which happened too.
You talked about biometrics and demographics and you gave us the difference between the two; we are all aware of the difference between the two. By the way, this was not biometric data that as leaked, this was demographic data that was leaked.
My second question is, you’ve given us the number of people linked with Aadhaar and those are good numbers that you have already linked with Aadhaar. But my question is, after somebody has an Aadhaar Card, how will you bring those numbers down of people who do not get the benefits of MNREGA, of PDS or of ICDS because of other reasons that we pointed out today – in the cases where the Aadhaar Cards don’t work because of biometrics, because of slow connections and because of other reasons. My clarification to the Minister is, how will you ensure that those numbers come down? Now it’s about 40 to 45 per cent, who, in spite of the cards, are not getting the benefits.