UID, a great piece of reform

Posted on October 1, 2010 | View 1309 | Comment : 26

But tech no fix for bad governance.

The Unique Identity (UID) project or Aadhaar, to assign all citizens a unique 12-digit number associated with biometric data, has the potential to improve governance, but is no magic substitute for it.

It can accurately target delivery of development programmes, and more. The number and biometric data being stored in a queriable central database, UID provides indisputable identity that is portable pan-India.

But Aadhaar also presupposes continuing governance reforms, without which the UID’s potential would remain untapped.

The actual access to governmental programmes on health, education and employment do require proactive policy; the UID cannot and must not be seen as a cure-all for responsive governance.

The identity that Aadhaar provides can, however, be used to rightfully access social programmes, and open, say, a bank account (subject to attendant requirements like address verification).

The way ahead is for public agencies and organisations to incorporate UID in their schemes and products.
The the biggest beneficiary of Aadhaar will be the aam aadmi, the common man, provided reform of governance structures and institutions are streamlined for a sound development delivery mechanism.

The reality on the ground is that guaranteed identity is only available at a premium, which is why for, example, the subsidies really meant for the poor are routinely appropriated by the nonpoor.

UID can be used to design a foolproof platform for the delivery of citizen services, as it would link an individual’s digital footprint across multiple government agencies.

The project authorities do need to put in place systems to avoid potential tracking, profiling and data misuse via UID.

But its real potential is that it could put paid to fuzzy policymaking, with beneficiaries traceable and very much identifiable across space and time.

The objective ought to be to purposefully target subsidies, rev up efficiency in policy-making and provide fiscal space for forward-looking investment in social and physical infrastructure.

UID is also a tool for fiscal reform, provided transparency and governance gets the requisite leg up.

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Comments (26)

  • Any idea, how to address corruption? And how to deal with corrupt politicians? Desires are good but we first need to look at ways to achieve them.

    This UID number will actually kill lot of corruption in govt run schemes. As said by Mr Dhanaraj Biradar, it will be a true game changer.

    Just wait till majority of indians get this number. Cynics will probably eat their words. (Provided Mayawati, Lalu, Paswan, Mulayam and their ilk dont reach the helm of the country.

    Posted by RK Singh | 06 Oct, 2010

  • UID / Aadhar No will be a game chang number to all indian citizen , economy , goverance and bussiness etc . It will be a magic number . Be positive and honest to participate, support and implimentation process . Let us join hand to build bright and beautifull INDIA .

    Posted by Dhanaraj Biradar , GL at Toyota Bangalore | 05 Oct, 2010

  • Cynicism with the corrupt practices and Bankruptcy of governance has been the key theme amongst the critical comments. Usually the recommendation flowing out of such cynicism is that first eradicate corruption and bring orderly governance and then talk about IT solutions.
    However, it’s the age old “Chicken of egg first dilemma”. However The process related to automation and reforms in governance go hand in hand supporting each other and it can never be what is required first. So lets support this initiative an all such initiatives as one of the legs of the complete process of change.


  • So far we needed Ration Card, Voter's ID Card, PAN Card, Employer's identity card, Domicle and Nationality certificate etc. etc. to get identified by the Govt. Now UID will do the job, but will the sarkari system will recognise its importance? It is one question which needs to be addressed with sincerity, corrupt practices in the country may jeopardise the UID. Government should not allow it to happen.
    First of all corruption should be addressed, and corrupt politicians should be dealt with. The programme is good but it should be implemented honestly.

    Posted by Rajeev | 05 Oct, 2010

  • Indian logic is superb. We need good, competent and honest bans of leaders if we are do anything that is not a hype and that will help the citizens. So, we need not have UID, we need not have other ID cards as well. We do not neet anything AT ALL - NO DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE ALL MONEY FOR DEVELOPMENT GETS SYPHONED OFF/ mAYBE WE DO NOT NEED ANY MONEY AT ALL - SO THERE WOULD NOT BE NY SIOHONIONG OFF POSSIBILITY. gREAT IDEAS.. Let the good leaders come first. Then, let good followers come. Then we will see whether we need any identification at all. Till such time we await the turning of AAdhar into Aahar or Adhar.

    Posted by Basudeb Sen | 04 Oct, 2010

  • It's just another big hype. Does our Government really want to deliver . If so , UID or no UID it hardly matter. If good governance is what we need , we must have the right kind of people with right mindset who can assess our problem and the right solution. Ours a Nation having more than 120 crore of population and unfortunately we lack a team of good leaders at the top. The information flow from bottom up is severely blocked with vested interest group. All the developemental plan hardly delivers at the grassroot level. Fund is being siphoned all along the channel. How many ID's we are carrying for the last so many years? Alas! whats the outcome? People are made to run from pillar to post for any small routine thing to happen. So, why to waste a huge amount of capital on issuing another ...See More

    Posted by Debdas Pattnaik | 04 Oct, 2010

  • yes, definately UID project may change the government in cost management aswell public may get good greviences. Every ploitician have to aware public in their constitution regarding UID project to make success.

    Posted by suresh , networking at shfsl | 04 Oct, 2010

  • PAN card helped governance in tax administration, similarly Voter ID card brought in much larger tool for public administration. I am sure UID shall help overall state Governance in a big way.

    Posted by P K Majumdar | 03 Oct, 2010

  • its a one of the task which think tank ,must be thinking of but pain is still left if you look for its implementation part as for as our beaurocates and politician are concren would they facilitate the impelmentation effectively nobody will forget that driving licence is used morethan its real value for holder that he drive and just certification to drive vehicle
    same is here UID can be used to track PDS

    Posted by Manish Awasthi , D.Mangaer at Castrol India | 02 Oct, 2010

  • Hazaro Saal se sob loot raha Hai - lootneka liye our kuch bachha nehin. Aaj to jo tax dete hai sobse yada uskai looksaan taiyaar hai - our sob to lootka paise-sei bhag leta hai. Kroro jeenka ekbaar ka khana kharidneka rojkar bhi nehi jai, unkee our lootenga kaun?

    Posted by Basudeb Sen | 02 Oct, 2010

  • So far I have to prove my identity through Ration Card, Voter's ID Card, PAN Card, Employer's identity card, Domicle and Nationality certificate etc. etc. Thanks to UID. I will have an identity now to proclaim that I am an Indian.

    Posted by Advocate Prem Parkash Kumar Mu | 02 Oct, 2010

  • Thanks for introducing UID, a biomatric base which data can be manipulated to leverage many objectives of a nation like ours. It is not a wastage of money but a stage being set for future development of the nation as a whole. In order to make best use of this massive use of this investment, one should have the clear vision about the future goal of the country. In order to initiate correct measured step, it is essential to have a data base. I would also like to appreciate the apprehensions expressed by others in respect of future of this project - it should have its proper utility, which is most essential. If there is no end-use of it, it will have its natural death. Let us have a positive approach to make the effort a success. It is easy to criticise, but difficult to ...See More

    Posted by Pratip Basu,Chief Financial officer at Subhash Projects & Marketing Limited|02 Oct, 2010

  • UID is not going to give anyone any food or clothing or shelter: that have to earned or received as subsidy or dole from the Governments.
    Indian logic is of the finest order: if the country wastes Rs 70,000 crore on CWG, why waste money on UID Project? Absolutely correct. If you have to waste money waste on CWG. Or. if CWG is a waste, then why not waste also on UID and other things. Absolutely correct. Or, whatever the Govt. spends is waste, so UID will be another wasteful expenditure. Absolutely correct.
    And, of course, Indian with their high intellegince are always confused with things and must be so with UID. UID is only a number: absolutely correct. UID will not be a card: absolutely correct, but each person getting a UID number will get an acknowledgement in paper or ...See More

    Posted by Basudeb Sen | 02 Oct, 2010

  • All is well.................................................... saab deshko lootnene ki tarkibein hain ......... Jago India Jaago!!

    Posted by Sanjay Pande,Manager Contracts at GRV Construction Works|01 Oct, 2010

  • In a country where illiteracy is rampant this number shall serve no purpose other than increasing corruption. In due course there shall be government organisations which will demand this UID for giving facilities eg. the 100 days work guarantee and then the corruption starts !!! We shall have the usual tuots/ incorrigible clerks etc. who shall extract money from hapless illiterate citizens for getting them there due.
    However the brighter side is that we have made a start, it may take a long time to establish a system which will work and this UID shall become a social security number unless some government is elected into power which considers tthe UID a waste of money.

    Posted by sachinath banerjee | 01 Oct, 2010

  • Dear Sir,
    This is another waste of Rs. 27,000 crores.Can one get food,clothing and shelter by flaunting this number?
    We are already poorer by 70,000 crores due to CWG few lakh crores on writnig off the loan to farmers.Farmer suicide have not stopped.However honest farmers will also become dishonest and shall not repay loan till next elections
    suresh chandra shrivastava

    Posted by suresh chandra shrivastava | 01 Oct, 2010

  • Dear Mr Jyothikumar,

    Rest assured that it is being implemented as efficiently as you would ever imagin. The first UID number was issued only yesteday and the whole population will be issued UID numbers in less than 5 years. The whole design is such that there is very little scope for failure and missed deadlines.

    Posted by Rajesh Kumar Singh | 01 Oct, 2010

  • There is very little clarity on UID among even the the highly educated and well placed. My apologies for saying this, but even the editorial is way off the mark. If there was clarity, this thread would not have started in the first place.

    UID will not give any cards. Rather, it will replace all the cards that are making your wallet swell. All it will do is to allot you a 12 digit number which you may like to even forget. Your finger impressions and Iris will be your identity and not the 12 digit number. 12 digit number will be the address, where your biometric signatures will be stored. And you as a post graduate will be identifying yourself with thumb impression at lot more places in a day than the number of signatures you will put in a month.
    ...See More

    Posted by Rajesh Kumar Singh , Operations Head, Card Business (E-Gov) at Calance Software Pvt Ltd | 01 Oct, 2010

  • Great Idea with out proper implementation and many people don't have it. Who monitors?

    Posted by jyothikumar varma,Director at C-Media Networks|01 Oct, 2010

  • UID is not a piece of reform its a powerful nonviolent weapon in the hands of all the citizen of India, but it should be implemented with a strong sense, which can not become the ration card event which recently happened and its not implemented correctly till the date. UID will be used in various field of reforms like better education, improved emloyment level, removal of curruption practices, etc., even it helps in the battle of terrorism as a powerful weapon where we can remove terrorism with its root.

    Posted by Anil Jain , Student at None | 01 Oct, 2010

  • It is better late than never! This should have started longtime back as usage of Biometrics started even in several 3rd world countries @ 5 years back. Anyway, India's ( ours ) scale is different, complex & fluid. Let us not read too many things at this juncture and give all the help / support the administration is looking for. Citizen related data is very important especially when " Terrorist " activities are spreading very fast. The data which is being collected should be protected under the Privacy Act so that unlike the Credit Cards it is not used for advertisements & marketing!

    Posted by ranjan dutta | 01 Oct, 2010

  • UID is a great step forward but only a beginning point. It only deprives the complacent and corrupt government officials of one of the ali bi of inability to administer development programmes due to lack of visibility of the target groups. However what is of greater importance is of the visibility of the footprints of the government officials administering the schemes, projects and taking decisions on subjects of utmost importance including financial management of the projects with least.
    So what is required is to carry forward this step for computerization of the process of governance and crating a visibility and transparency in the decision making and an authentic database on the tender management, project management etc across the country.
    This second step in itself may ...See More


  • If all citizens are given the UID cards the government will have an idea of how many people are poor in this country. UID cannot make the poor to come out of their poverty. The only way they can be brought out of their poverty is through a fair minimum wages for their labour and a permanent supply of work as well. For that, the middle class who is in controll should change its mind to view that every citizen in the country has a right to lead a decent life. UID has its importance since it purports to seek out every one in the Republic to be counted and if the government is able to do that at 100% population level, then at least half of the efforts of empowering the people is achieved. The remaining half is to give them spatial identity with permanent source of income. Government ...See More

    Posted by George Varuggheese,President at Godimages Good Governance Society|01 Oct, 2010

  • UID is not an answer to many things including probems of governance, delivery of government subsidy and welfare etc. UID is the answer to proper identity of each individual citizen so that under any circumstances the person can be perfectly identified for various purposes of delivery of services to tat person, the credentialsof the person in respect of any tresspassing of law. This was needed for long. That Mr. Nilkeni is the chief of the project, makes us believe that the system will be full-proof and misidentification or false identification will not be possible any longer.
    Clearly, it will take a long time to privide UID cards to each of the billion plus citizens of India and all legally approved foreigners living in the country for long periods. fter sometime even the ...See More

    Posted by Basudeb Sen | 01 Oct, 2010

  • Yes UID is great for a change and good governanace so that government and it's services can reach to everybody spacially the poor, farmers, artisans and daily labour who toils and sometimes have to hungry when thousand tons of grains/food is rotting or eaten by rats and wasted. But we have to be cautious and alert so that it is not politicised. I remember some years back Singapore Govt. launched an National Identity Card program it has been very successful As the chip on the ID card has all information beside latest technology like biometric finger print identification will prevent any duplication. The UID on implementation should be accepted and respected by all irrespective of caste, creed, rich,poor, all religions and of course the politicians. Only then success is assured and we as a ...See More

    Posted by Jawahar Rakshit,Ex.Vice President at ExxonMobil|01 Oct, 2010



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