Tuesday, September 24, 2013

AADHAAR FIASCO - SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF ISSUING AADHAAR CARDS TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

AADHAAR FIASCO  
SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF ISSUING AADHAAR CARDS TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS 
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

ARE AADHAAR CARDS BEING ISSUED TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS?

Yesterday, the media reported that the Supreme Court had asked the government not to issue Aadhaar Cards to illegal immigrants.


It has been reported in the media that the Supreme Court said that Aadhaar can only be issued to those with proven Indian nationality. The Supreme Court frowned upon the unique identity numbers being issued without verifying the antecedents of individuals and said that if anyone applies for Aadhaar card, then you have to verify whether he is a citizen of India or not and directed that Aadhaar cards cannot be issued to illegal migrants.


I wonder why the Supreme Court had to issue such a directive.

Does the need for such a directive imply that Aadhaar Cards were being issued to illegal immigrants who are not citizens of India?

If Aadhaar Cards have been issued to illegal immigrants, is this not a huge security lapse?

Because, using their Aadhaar Cards, illegal immigrants can:

1. Open Bank Accounts using their Aadhaar Cards. They can use the bank passbook a Proof of Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA).

2. Obtain various official documents using their Aadhaar Cards like Ration Cards, Voter ID Cards, PAN, Driving License etc which serve as Proof of Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA).

Using the above Proof of Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA) documents, an illegal immigrant can obtain an Indian Passport and become a citizen of India.

I hope there is no proposal to give Passports based on Aadhaar Cards, as this will make it even easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens of India.

Did the powers-that-be not anticipate the security implications of giving Aadhaar to non-citizens and illegal immigrants?


INTRODUCER SYSTEM OF ENROLMENT FOR AADHAAR

There is a glaring loophole in the Aadhaar enrolment system called “introducer system” which facilitates illegal immigrants to easily obtain Aadhaar Cards.

Citizens of India are required to furnish documentary proofs for establishing Proof of Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA) at the time of enrolment for Aadhaar.

On the other hand, illegal immigrants can take recourse to the “introducer system” where they can be “introduced” for an Aadhaar number by an “introducer”. Thus, illegal immigrants are not required to furnish any Proof of Identity (POI) or Proof of Address (POA) documents.

The requirements to be an introducer are quite vague and loosely defined.

You need not be a government officer to become an “introducer”.

Any local “influencer” can become an “introducer”.

This is huge security risk – whereas government employees can be held accountable for lapses and wrongdoings, can any action be taken against “introducers” who fraudulently facilitate illegal immigrants to get Aadhaar Cards?

Making it easy for illegal immigrants, which may include undesirable anti-national and anti-social elements, to get Aadhaar Cards is thus fraught with serious implications for our national security.

Media has reported from time to time that illegal immigrants have been found with Aadhaar Cards:


However, I wonder what corrective action has been taken by UIDAI to ensure that illegal immigrants are not enrolled for Aadhaar.

Also, has any action been taken to cancel the Aadhaar Cards of illegal immigrants?

It is surprising that UIDAI did not realize the security implications of making Aadhaar accessible to illegal immigrants.

It has required the intervention of the Supreme Court to direct the UIDAI to correct this serious lapse which has implications on our national security.

In addition to the security risk, issuing Aadhaar cards to illegal immigrants will enable them to fraudulently benefit from various Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes which are meant for Indian Citizens and these subsidies are funded by the Indian Tax Payer.

Why should Indian taxpayers pay for the welfare of illegal immigrants?


WAY AHEAD

1. Firstly, the “introducer” system of Aadhaar enrolment must be immediately stopped. Aadhaar must be issued only after proper verification of Proof of Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA) as per the prescribed documents.

2. Secondly, UIDAI must immediately cancel all Aadhaar Cards issued under the “introducer” system. All these persons must be asked to re-enroll for Aadhaar with proper verification of POI and POA.

3. Thirdly, UIDAI must stop outsourcing of Aadhaar enrolment work to private agencies. In view of the national security implications, Aadhaar enrolment must be handled by government agencies who can be held accountable.


SECURITY CONSCIOUSNESS

One of the reasons why India is considered a “Soft State” is due our lack of security consciousness, as is evident from the loose implementation of the Aadhaar Scheme.

We are already paying a heavy price for our lackadaisical approach to security issues.


It is the patriotic duty of UIDAI to take immediate corrective action to ensure that illegal immigrants, many of whom may be inimical to our national interest, do not fraudulently exploit and take undue advantage of the Aadhaar Scheme which is meant for Indian Citizens.


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